- [Agro]: Economics of Animal Rearing
- [Agro] Research: New Varieties
- [Agro]:Fertilizer/Manure related
- [Agro]: Misc.
- [EnB] Flora-Fauna
- [EnB] Clean Energy Related
- [EnB] Climate Change related
- [EnB] Disaster Management: Himalayan tsunami
- [EnB] Misc.
- Mock Questions
In the part 1 of Hindu Sci-tech compilation, we saw the Medical / Healthcare research related coverage from June-July-August 2013. Click me
In this Part two, we see topics related to Agriculture + Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)
|UPSC Syllabus||topics in this article|
|(GS1) changes in water-bodies and the effects of such changes.||Ocean Acidification, Dimethylsulphide|
|(GS3) economics of animal-rearing.||
|(GS3) Achievements of Indians in science & technology||Solar Backpack “Lumos” designed by an Indian Couple.|
|(GS3) Conservation||House-sparrow, Tiger corridors.|
|(GS3) Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life||flow batteries.|
|(GS3) indigenization of technology and developing new Technology.||bio refinery in Hyderabad|
|(GS3) environmental pollution and degradation||runaway greenhouse effect, ocean acidification|
|(GS3) Disaster and disaster management.||
Note: topics related to IT, Space and Nano-tech will be covered the part 3 of 3,
- Indian farmers doing backyard poultry for many years.
- The birds grow by scavenging on kitchen and other waste. They help in
- egg sale=side income
- Cheap source of protein for farmer’s family.
Then what is the problem?
- Poultry sector is focusing more on commercial poultry rearing like broilers for meat and eggs.
- As a result, many indigenous species about to become extinct.
- One such breed is the Kalamasi or Kadaknath fowl breed: found in Bhil and Bhila tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh.
- black in color. Meat is softer than that of other desi birds, contains less fat and more protein,
- Because of these qualities, Kalamasi fowls commend good prices. 1 year old bird sells for >Rs.600 (while other desi varieties fetch barely Rs.100-150)
- But this breed is slowly becoming extinct.
- These fowls can be reared quite easily. Don’t need any special attention or round the clock caretaking.
- They’re good scavengers= feed cost gets considerably reduced. (in each bird sells for more than Rs.600 after one year)
- They can be housed in large bamboo baskets or inside store rooms. Don’t need elaborate shelter like in professional broilers.
- Their hens grow fast, start laying eggs from sixth month of age onwards. In a year a single hen lays 80-120 eggs.
Benefits to Tribal of Madhya Pradesh
- Government provides vaccination, training for feed-marketing.
- The tribal beneficiaries rearing this breed are today able to get an income of Rs.80,000-90,000 a year.
- Less rural-urban migration. Encourages people to stay in villages, continue farming operations along with fowl rearing.
From time immemorial Indian peasants have always been rearing animals for extra income. But there are challenges:
- Pasture lands shrinking=> Less green fodder
- Rich farmers with pumpsets and borewells so grow green fodder but it is not possible for small and marginal farmers.
- Lack of veterinary services in remote areas.
Case study: Goat rearing in Kozhikode District of Kerala
Government support: Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR)
Aim: help small farmers and landless laborers to do goat rearing with minimum cost.
- Farmers given Breeding charts: to fully exploit the reproductive efficiency of female goats.
- In a large herd, synchronization of estrus cycle by administering PGF2 alpha injection.
- Careful rearing of baby goats for 120 days after birth. They’re given concentrated feed prepared specifically by the institute’s experts. Farmers can also make them by mixing rice, wheat, maize, horsegram etc.
- + Baby goats are given liver tonics mixed with fish oil => increase appetite and aid good healthy growth, goad quickly fattens for slaughtering.
|DESI METHOD OF REARING||NOW WITH SCIENTIFIC REARING|
|Animal will weigh 10 kg in 6 months||within 4 months the goat will weigh 25+ kg =provides big returns in quick time.|
- Farmers with only few cents of land can also grow goats.
- They don’t need not spent much time grazing them out in the open.
|expense of feeding one baby goat||Rs.1200 per month x 4 months = 3600|
|Income from selling that goat after 4 months.||close to Rs.7000|
|profit||You calculate for the aptitude practice.|
|India’s first throneless rose plant variety.
by a research institute in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
Regions around Pune-Banglore= known for commercial rose cultivation. They’re interested in this new throneless variety of rose.
- Present day farming require external inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides.
- but they’re expensive + harmful to soil and environment.
- Now a new technology developed to produce liquid manure from cow dung and cow urine, by a farmer in TN.
- The basic principles= Fermentation + Sedimentation.
- Cow dung + cow urine +10 parts of water=>mix in barrel, let it ferment for a day.
- Next day add one kg of jiggery, along with decomposed fruits, vegetables or practically any vegetative matter available in the farm.
- Only indigenous cow dung and urine must be used because the microbial activity in local cow waste is more than in other cross bred animals.
- After a week farmers can use this liquid solution as manure via drip irrigation. Hence it is called “Liquid Manure”.
- increases the water holding capacity of the soil
- Improves the beneficial micro organisms present in the soil.
- Only Rs.800 investment to buy a plastic barrel.Rest of the inputs can be easily sourced from the farm itself. Hence even small and marginal farmers can do it.
- farmer can save Rs.4,000-20,000 per hectare in fertilizer
- Chemical fertilizers=decrease soil fertility after prolonged use.
- Vermicompost is an organic manure (bio-fertilizer) by earth worm
- Earthworm can be grown on animal dung, poultry droppings, vegetable and other kinds of biodegradable wastes. They feed on such items, produce a compost.
Benefits of Vermicompost?
- odorless, clean, organic material
- contains adequate quantities of N, P, K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) and several micronutrients that are essential for plant growth.
- Contains organic matter= makes the soil productive.
- Eco-friendly, non-toxic, consumes low energy input for composting.
- Case study: Enabavi, a small village in Warangal district, Andhra
- The farmers grow paddy, pulses, millets, cotton, chilli, tobacco and vegetables.
|average spending on chemical fertilizers and pesticides: ~Rs.3,500 per crop per acre||
|Seeds: ~ Rs. 500 per acre for seeds||
|The traders would dictate the price for the produce in addition to charging interest for the inputs supplied||The farmers do not spend a single rupee anymore for buying all the inputs.|
|Sale of agro-produce through Middlemen @APMC||They process their paddy and sell directly to consumers and also through a marketing channel called Sahaja Aharam in Hyderabad.|
Lessons from this village:
- Sustainable farming can be profitable.
- social regulation, learning from each other.
- the benefits of conviction born out of experience and most importantly, the way out of agricultural distress by taking control over one’s own farming,
- Trichoderma viride (Tv), a soil fungus =bio control agent
- controls diseases in trees such as root rot, leaf blight etc.
- Good alternative for chemical based fungicides
- Farmers can make it by themselves using agricultural wastes to reduce cost
Fruits are classified into two groups
|ripen even after harvest||do not ripen after harvest|
|Banana, apple, avocado, banana, ﬁg, mango, papaya, passionfruit, pear and tomato||Grapes, blueberry, cherry, citrus, cucumber, pineapple and strawberry.|
|ethylene gas is used in godowns to hasten the ripening (e.g. for Banana). Similarly Calcium carbide is used to ripen Mangoes.||not needed / wont work.|
Q. It is impossible to peel the skin of a plantain fruit when it is raw but the same can be done very easily when fully ripe. Why?
- Raw banana fruit is firm and not peelable since the cell cementing material is made of non-soluble calcium pectin.
- But On ripening the non-soluble pectin will become soluble and hence the softness.
Enough of Agro related, now moving on to Environment and Biodiversity [EnB]
- Giant Clam= an endangered species of clam (although IUCN red list puts it in ‘Vulnerable’ category but Thehindu says it’s an endangered species). Then who is right? That we’ll know once CSAT-2013 official answer key comes out and we find whether Swamp Deer was endangered or not! If UPSC answerkey says Swamp deer was endangered that’d mean UPSC had setup question from IUCN list.
- Anyways back to topic: Giant Clams are found in the tropical coral reefs, including Andaman Nicobar.
- All the species of Giant Clam are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
But Why in News?
- UK based charity organization gave money to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
- Money will be used create database of Giant clams in Andaman-Nicobar.
|STATE||OFFICIAL STATE BIRD|
|Jammu and Kashmir||Black Necked Crane|
|Maharashtra||Yellow Footed Green Pigeon.|
|Delhi||House-sparrow (declared State Bird in 2013)|
March 20 = World House Sparrow Day
Why House-sparrow population declining?
- Less tress=not place to setup nests +increase in air pollution
- Buildings use glass facades= they show reflection of trees. Birds crash into the glass panel mistaking it for a tress. They get injured, even die.
- House sparrows and their chicks need protein, which means they need a lot of insects. But urban junta uses chemical pesticides in their gardens=> No worms, insects or pests left for the birds to feed. Thus, use of pesticides invariably affects house sparrow population.
- Cities have less number of open vegetable markets= lack of waste food for the birds.
- Earlier Sparrows fed on open bags of rice and cereals in the markets. The traders too didn’t try to avoid them as they consumed only a little and also preyed on small pests in rice bags. But these bags have now been replaced with sealed plastic bags at many places=no grain leakage=no food for birds.
- Even in places where grain-bags are kept open, the birds avoid them owing to the use of pesticides. A house sparrow weighs just a few milligrams and feeding on cereals with pesticides, even in micro levels, could kill them.
- Even in Rural areas, reduced grain spillage and improved storage facilities + use of pesticides & herbicides=sparrow population declined.
- 2010 data: 1,700 tigers in 39 tiger reserves.
- Nowadays, Tiger reserves are surrounded by farms, villages and towns.
- Such small and enclosed tiger reserves=> Habitat fragmentation=>inbreeding among tigers.
- Inbreeding=> new generations will have genetic disorders. They’ll be more vulnerable to environmental changes.
- If tiger reserves are connected through forest corridors, then tiger from one region can move to different area=> decreases inbreeding and promotes gene flow between isolated tiger populations.
- Thus forest corridors= imp. for genetic variation among tigers.
- Challenge: Tiger corridors in central India face threats from road widening, railway lines construction and coal mining.
- commission for conservation of Antarctic marine living resources (CCAMLR)
- Members: 24 countries and the European Union.
But Russia voted against both proposals during meeting, hence no result.
- Bio-electric Chemical Treatment System=designed by a research organization in Hyderabad, they’ve also filed for Patent.
|input||affluent/toxic water discharged from chemical factories and households.|
- bio-hydrogen: This system uses anaerobic reactors to produce the environmentally sustainable bio-hydrogen instead of methane.
- bio-electricity: from anaerobic bacterial metabolism, by putting external electrodes in the reactor
- bio-plastics: During above anaerobic processing, volatile fatty acids generated. These fatty acids are used for making bio-plastics. These bio-plastics could replace to some extent synthetic plastics in future.
Project funded by the Ministry of Non-Renewable Energy.
- The amount of energy produced by biofuels is only a little more than the amount of energy invested in growing and manufacturing them.
- Biofuels are nothing but a byproduct of sunlight. A combination of solar cells, batteries and electric cars, is 600 times more effective at harnessing sun’s energy than biofuels.
- Their energy-efficiency is not so good. Even if all agricultural land in Germany was directed to biofuels, we will get only enough to replace up to 20% of all fuel consumption in Germany.
- At present Germany uses only 20% of agricultural land for crops used for biomass production. The money farmers earn for this is probably double compared to growing wheat. As a result of that Germany, which was a big exporter of wheat, now imports it. Because farmers decreased wheat cultivation.
- Several studies had shown that global crop production needed to double by 2050, to meet demands from
- Increasing human population
- Demand from meat-industry (recall geography location factor article: how corn is used to fatten the cattle in USA. Similarly poultry rearing also need corn, soybean as feed.)
- demand from dairy-industry
Therefore it is a bad idea to devote agricultural land for biofuels.
|2011||Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan|
|2022||Germany plans to shut down all of its Nuclear plants.|
IAEA Chief (Yukiya Amano) said following:
- After Chernobyl disaster in 1986, there was a “period of stagnation” in nuclear industry
- But, after the Fukushima accident construction of new nuclear plants continued in many countries,
- In the next few years five countries — Bangladesh, Jordan, Nigeria, Turkey and Vietnam — will join the nuclear energy club
- Nuke Energy is safe, reliable, low greenhouse gas emission, gives steady supply of electricity @stable prices.
- Lumos=Solar backpack designed by an Indian couple
- It is water-, impact- and shock-proof
- allows you to charge your gadgets through solar energy.
- These backpacks have a sleek, flexible solar panel, unlike conventional panels (large, rigid plates used for rooftop installation).
|wind||depends on speed of the wind, not continuous|
|solar||doesn’t work on cloudy day|
- Therefore, such “renewable” sources cannot be connected directly to the electric grid (Because they don’t work on 24/7).
- Instead, you’ve to store this solar/wind electricity in a battery and use this ‘charged’ battery to run electric appliances.
|Problem: conventional batteries||solution: flow batteries|
- Project in an Agro-university in Ludhiana.
- cattle waste=> bio gas=>generator=>electricity.
- The electricity is being used for chaffing green fodder, machine milking, operating the fans, coolers and foggers installed inside the animal sheds.
- waste slurry obtained from the bio gas plant is used as manure for crops.
- Their next plan is to separate methane and carbon dioxide from biogas, then bottle the carbon dioxide for industrial use
- Ministry of renewable energy is giving them subsidy.
- In a life sustaining planet e.g. Earth, the Solar absorption and radiation levels are balanced=> life can exist.
- But if the solar radiation absorbed by the planet exceeds the thermal radiation given out by the planet then result=>
- uncontrollable heating of planet’s surface
- rapid water evaporation from oceans and rivers.
This is known as runaway greenhouse effect. Ultimate result: planet becomes inhospitable, life cannot exist. It is believed that once Venus planet had ocean but all the water evaporated thanks to runaway greenhouse effect.
- Oceans absorb more 25% carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- this carbon dioxide dissolves in the water =>forms carbonic acid.
- This way, the oceans act as a carbon dioxide sink
- But when CO2 increase in atmosphere=>Carbonic acid also increases in sea-water= Ocean acidification (OA).
- Problem? By 2100, the corals and starfishes might become extinct due to this Ocean Acidification.
- Corals spend their entire life in one place. They secrete calcium carbonate =>form coral reefs.
- These coral reefs provide support to variety of fishes and marine organisms.
- But Higher Ocean acidification and warmer climates = less new coral reefs formed + even the existing coral reefs get damaged.
- When Coral reefs are reduced=>indirectly many species will be affected.
Thus Ocean acidification poses grave danger to all marine species.
- It is a volatile organic compound.
- Released by certain species of phytoplankton and algae.
- When dimethylsulphide mixes with air, it reduces the amount of solar energy reaching Earth’s surface
- Thus, dimethylsulphide cools the atmosphere.
- But Ocean Acidification harms the population of phytoplankton + algae=> less dimethylsulphie emitted =more global warming.
|Factor||determines Apple’s ____|
- As per the Japanese study, when temperature rose during the fruit maturation period, there was a change in the taste and texture of the fruit.
- Meaning, due to climate change in last decades, the taste-texture of apple must have changed. Apples would have tasted differently 100 years ago.
Covered in separate article. click me
|Harithavanam||man-made forest in Kerala. On the banks of the Mangalapuzha river.
The man-made forest renders almost all the functions of a natural forest except that there are no wild animals.
|miniscule monkeys||Scientists had been studying fossil primate skeleton from China, since 2003
Conclusion: Early ancestors of human beings might be “miniscule monkeys” smaller than rats
|Sumatra Haze||Fire in Sumatra’s jungle=> haze=> air pollution in three nations: Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.|
hardly relevant for UPSC but for the sake of timepass
- Translates to “big-nosed horned face.”
- New horned dinosaur species discovered in Utah desert of USA.
- Belongs to the group of plant-eating, rhinoceros-like dinos.
- Nasuceratops used their horns to deter rivals for sexual selection and Deflect predators similar to modern-day elk or deer.
|Paleontologist||Scientist that studies fossil organisms.|
|Predator||Hunts his prey by himself. E.g. Lion, Tiger|
|Scavenger||Any organism that feeds on dead animals hunted by others + and other decaying organic matter. Example: Vultures, Hyenas, Raccoons, certain bacteria and insects.|
|T.Rex||That Non-Vegetarian Villain-Dinosaur, you’ve seen in Hollywood movies.|
What is the issue?
- Some paleontologists believe that T. rex was a scavenger, not a predator. Meaning all Hollywood movies where T-Rex is villain= scientifically bogus. Because T.Rex didn’t kill anyone during his time! He was merely a humble dinosaur who ate dead carcasses left by Predator dinosaurs.
- But now Paleontologists found tooth marks of a T.Rex on a vegetarian (herbivore) dinosaur’s tail. From scientific analysis, they found vegetarian dinosaur was alive when it got bitten by T.Rex
- Meaning T.Rex was a predator who would hunt in live animals, and NOT a scavenger. It means Hollywood scriptwriters are indeed correct: T-Rex was indeed the villain dinosaur.
- Correct Statements about Giant Clams
- They’re a variety of earthworms.
- Found in the black, lava soil of Deccan plateu.
- Considered Vulnerable as per IUCN database.
- None of Above
- Incorrect Match
- Jammu and Kashmir: Black Francolin
- Gujarat: Greater Flamingo
- Delhi : House-sparrow
- None of Above
- Correct Statements
- The use of chemical pesticides in garden has led to decline in Sparrow population, this is an example of Biomagnification.
- Habitat fragmentation is undesirable because it leads to inbreeding among a species.
- Incorrect Match
- Yukiya Amano: IAEA
- Thomas Bach: International Olympic Committee
- Deepak Sandhu: National Green Tribunal
- None of Above
- Runaway Greenhouse effect occurs when
- When the Thermal radiation given out by the planet, exceeds the solar radiation absorbed by the Planet.
- When the solar radiation absorbed by the planet exceeds the thermal radiation given out by the planet.
- When the solar radiation absorbed by the planet equals the thermal radiation given out by the planet.
- When the Thermal radiation given out by the planet, equals the solar radiation absorbed by the Planet.
- Find correct statement about Dimethylsulphide
- It is responsible for the Ocean Acidification.
- It is responsible for Algae bloom.
- It is responsible for the runaway greenhouse effect.
- None of Above
- Correct Statement about fruits
- Non- climacteric fruits are those who ripen even after harvest.
- Climacteric fruits are those who do not ripe under ethylene treatment.
- Mango is an example of Non-Climacteric fruit
- None of above.
2 Marks (20 words)
- 5 Marks (50 words)
- Eco sensitive Zones
- Tiger Corridor
- Environment (Protection) Act (EPA)
- 12 marks (120 words)
- Suggest the measures to improve population of House sparrows in Urban India.
- Examine the opportunities and challenges in the use of Biofuels in India.
- What is Organic farming? How does it help in sustainable rural development?
- 25 marks (250 words)
- Eco-development, not zero development, is required for the protection of environment. Evaluate this stand in context of Uttarakhand Tragedy.
- With suitable examples, explain how Livestock farming backed by Agricultural Extension services can help weaker sections of society.
- What do you understand by Crisis Mapping? Discuss its role in Disaster Management.
- Uttarakhand tragedy was a man-made disaster. Comment.
- 200 Marks (essay)
- “Thoughtless conservation” and “reckless development” are destructive to nature as well as livelihoods.
- Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster.
- An economy disembodied from society is a disaster waiting to happen.
Next time, in part 3 of 3, we’ll see Space, IT, Electronics, Nano-tech, allied topics of physics/chemistry.
visit Mrunal.org/snt For more on Sci-Tech Current affairs.