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ENVIRONMENT AND ECOSYSTEM CURRENT AFFAIRS 2017



 Saraswati river
The Haryana government approved Rs. 20 lakh to set up a centre for research on Saraswati river in Kurukshetra University.

The Saraswathi river is mentioned in the Rigvedas, and has become defunct for centuries and search efforts have been on to locate its lost course. Khattar said that extensive research on both scientific and cultural aspects of this river should be conducted at the centre.

It was also decided in the meeting that Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) would be set up at Saraswati Nagar and Bilaspur in district Yamunanagar “to check pollution in river Saraswati.”

Maasai youth have swapped their ancestral role to protect the big cats under a conservation scheme.
In the Maasai heartland of southern Kenya, some young men have swapped their ancestral role as lion-hunters to instead protect the big cats under a conservation scheme that also aims to help their community.

The organisation behind the scheme Lengete works with, “Lion Guardians,” has set up camp in Selenkay Reserve, not far from Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain in neighbouring Tanzania, which is hidden by clouds on this warm September day.

T.N. tops list of endemic flowering plants

Among the most widely exploited endemic plants in country is Pterocarpus santalinus, commonly known as red sandal wood, which is found only in the southern parts of the Eastern Ghats. This plant is classified as critically endangered under International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN) category because of its dwindling habitat due to economic over exploitation. Some of the wild orchids, which are also endemic, are also exploited heavily.
Almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India is endemic to the country, a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has revealed. Of these, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of species with 410, followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra with 278.
Of the 18,259 flowering plants reported in the country, 4,303 (over 23 per cent) are found only in India, as per scientific data in a recently released book, Endemic Vascular Plants of India.
When it comes to the geographical distribution of endemic plants, the Western Ghats tops the list with about 2,116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species.
According to scientists, these two regions are among the biodiversity hot spots of the country.

Indian painted frog found in new area of Adilabad forests

It is not just the endangered Indian vulture Gyps indicus that lives in Bejjur forest in Adilabad, Telangana. The 253 sq. km. thickly forested area on the banks of Pranahita river in the eastern part of this district is a biodiversity haven, as the presence of a rare frog in the area shows.
The frog is found in tree holes, burrows, pollution-free wetland, and riverine areas, records of its distribution say. “The discovery clearly indicates that the area supports various endemic and threatened species, and calls for improved conservation efforts,”.
This particular animal is listed among species of ‘least concern’ by IUCN, also known as the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The UK-based International Reptile Conservation Foundation will publish it in the ‘Journal of IRCF Reptiles and Amphibians: Conservation and Natural History’.
Bejjur reserve forest on the Pranahita basin, which also boasts of the Peddavagu stream cutting across, is home to a host of species of flora and fauna. The over 50 types of trees include the tall Narepa Chettu, Hardwickia binata, the insectivorous Drosera burmannii, and the flagship teak, Tectona grandis.
The presence of rare striped hyena, leopard, almost all the ungulates except the gaur, and even the tiger have been reported from here. There are around16 species of birds of prey in addition to over 50 other avian species and about 15 reptiles and 10 species of amphibians.

Quarrying destroys Laggar Falcon habitat in Madurai

Laggar Falcons are an indigenous raptor species with white and grey plumage, which can hunt and fly at speeds of up to 180 kmph.
Arittapatti, situated between Alagarmalai and Perumal Malai reserve forests, is a historic site with 2,000-year-old Jain rock beds and inscriptions. Madurai was once a paradise for 17 species of raptors, which could feed on the then plentifully available reptiles.
“Birds are the greatest indicators of climate change, and of loss of habitat and biodiversity. Due to sand quarrying, Madurai lost its Vaigai-based biodiversity, including hundreds of Brahminy Kites, Black Kites and native fishes,”.
“Stone quarrying in Keezhavazhavu and Melavazhavu destroyed the habitat and nesting spots of raptors and other birds, including eagles, falcons and owls. Felling of palm trees, which is a nesting spot of many raptor species, is also one of the reasons for the disappearance of the birds,”

Doklam Plateau Issue

The region falls within Bhutanese Territory. India and Bhutan 2007 Friendship Treaty, Which provide regulations for border dispute Th...