Gist of Yojana April 2024 Issue: Our Ecosystem

Yojana Magazine is an important source of material for the UPSC exam. The monthly magazine provides details of major government schemes and programmes in various domains. Moreover, coming from the government, it is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Yojana, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

Gist of Yojana April 2024
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1. Holistic Exploration of Western Ghats
2. Sacred Groves
3. Blue Economy

1. Holistic Exploration of Western Ghats

Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountain Range, are a global biodiversity hotspot.
  • Holds the prestigious designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Encompasses regions in six states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, and one Union Territory (Dadra & Nagar Haveli).

Read more on the Western Ghats in the linked article.

Subdivision of Western Ghats

  • The Northern Ghats: From Gujarat to Maharashtra and represents the lowest and least rugged section of the Western Ghats.
  • The Central Ghats: They extend from Karnataka to Kerala and represent the highest and most rugged section of the Western Ghats.
  • The Southern Ghats: The area extends from Kerala to Tamil Nadu and represents the most dissected section of the Western Ghats.

Topography and Natural Resources

  • Elevation: The average elevation of the Western Ghats is around 1,200 meters (3,900 ft) with several peaks exceeding 2,000 meters (6,600 ft). Anamudi, located in Kerala, is the highest peak at 2,695 meters (8,842 ft).
  • Northern vs. Southern Segments: The northern section of the Western Ghats is generally lower while the southern section is steeper and more rugged.
  • Gaps: Major gaps interrupt the mountain range:
    • Palghat Gap: This is the oldest and widest gap, estimated to be around 500 million years old.
    • Shencottah Gap: The southernmost gap, it is the narrowest of the three.
    • Goa Gap: Northernmost gap, formed 65–80 million years ago.

Local names of Western Ghats

Local names of Western Ghats 1

Local names of Western Ghats 2

Biodiversity Overview

  • Endemic Species: Estimates suggest that over 50% of the tree species in the Western Ghats are endemic.
  • Forest Types: Diverse forest types blanket the slopes of the Western Ghats, including evergreen rainforests, semi-evergreen forests, deciduous forests, and moist deciduous forests.  

Threats to the Western Ghats

  • Habitat Loss: Deforestation, encroachment, and unsustainable land-use practices pose a significant threat to the biodiversity of the Western Ghats.
  • Climate Change: Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns can disrupt ecological balance and endanger species that are adapted to specific climatic conditions.

Conservation and Management

  • Protected Areas
  • National Parks:  
    • Silent Valley National Park
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries:  
    • Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary 
  • Biosphere Reserves: The Western Ghats are home to UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves like Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, focusing on conservation, research, and sustainable development.

Way Forward

  • Conservation and management of the Western Ghats necessitate a collaborative effort involving the government, local communities, NGOs, and research institutions.

2. Sacred Groves

Sacred Groves are areas of “natural” vegetation preserved through local taboos and sanctions that entail spiritual and ecological values.

Types of Sacred Groves

  • Temple Groves: Associated with temples and protected by religious institutions
  • Traditional Sacred Groves: Habitations of folk deities, rich in plant and animal life
  • Religious Groves: Associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism
  • Burial/Cremation/Memorial Groves: Places of reverence for deceased ancestors

Significance of Sacred Groves

  • Protection of Ecosystems: Restricted human activities safeguard biodiversity
  • Traditional Knowledge: Deep understanding of local ecology by managing communities
  • Biodiversity Conservation: Refuge for various plant and animal species
  • Cultural Preservation: Repository of cultural and religious practices

Challenges Faced by Sacred Groves

  • Habitat Loss:
    • Urbanization, agriculture, and infrastructure development encroach on sacred groves.
    • Result in habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity.
  • Climate Change Impacts:
    • Global warming alters ecological conditions and species distributions.
    • Disrupts traditional ecological balance and species interactions.
  • Cultural Degradation:
    • Shift in cultural values and practices diminishes sacred grove significance.
    • Loss of traditional ecological knowledge and conservation practices.

Conservation Efforts  

  • Legal Protection:
    • Sacred groves are legally protected under Community Reserves in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002.
    • Provide legal frameworks for conservation and management.
  • Community Conservation:
    • Emphasize community-based conservation initiatives.
    • Engage local communities in conservation planning and implementation.

3. Blue Economy

Blue economy is defined as the sustainable development of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.

India’s Scenario

  • India has a coastline of more than 7500 km and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of more than 2.2 million sq km.
  • India is the second-largest fish-producing nation.
  • India’s blue economy accounts for roughly 4% of the GDP and is estimated to increase over a period of time.

Activities in Blue Economy

  • Renewable Energy: Offshore wind and wave energy  
  • Fisheries
  • Maritime Transport
  • Tourism

Importance of the Blue Economy for India

  • Economic Benefits: Employment and Livelihoods – The blue economy supports a significant portion of India’s population. Sectors like fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, port operations, and tourism create millions of jobs.
  • Contribution to GDP: The blue economy contributes significantly to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Estimates suggest it contributes around 4% of GDP, and with proper development, this figure can rise substantially.
  • Harnessing Ocean Resources: India has vast potential for harnessing renewable energy sources like offshore wind and wave power. Additionally, responsible exploration of seabed minerals can provide valuable resources for various industries.
  • Food Security: Fisheries and aquaculture contribute to food security by providing a source of protein and income for coastal communities.
  • Tourism Development: Coastal and marine tourism, including beach resorts and water sports, attract tourists and generate revenue.


  • The blue economy presents India with a multitude of opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and strategic development. 
  • By prioritizing sustainable practices, India can unlock the true potential of its blue economy while safeguarding the marine environment for future generations.
Related Links
Nagarhole National Park UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
Art and culture notes for UPSC UNESCO
Simlipal Biosphere Reserve Environment And Ecology Notes For UPSC


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