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5th January Current Affairs

Rubber plantations in Tripura affecting monkeys, vegetation, suggests paper

(GS-I: Indian Geography)

In News:

The research article, Impact of Monoculture Rubber Plantation on non-Human Primates and Plant Diversity in South Tripura, has warned against monoculture farms and suggest eco-friendly measures to increase biodiversity.

Major findings:

The conversion of tropical forests into monoculture plantations has a major effect on non-human primates and plant species.

g., Turning the forests into natural rubber plantations in Tripura is negatively impacting non-human primate species and vegetation in the region.

Humans are overusing the world’s tropical forests: As per the WWF, every year, about 140,000 square kilometres of forests have been lost

A large proportion of primary forest in India has been converted into monoculture plantations like tea, oil palm, teak and natural rubber

Impact on animals: The number of monkeys in the rubber plantation area is much lower than in the nearby forests and the primates spend less time in rubber plantations

Due to the growing rubber plantations, they do not get enough food, which makes their survival difficult. This threatens the species and the primates can go extinct, disrupting the environment’s natural state.

What is the importance of Non-human primates?

Non-human primates are of central importance to tropical biodiversity and various ecosystem

They are humans’ nearest biological relatives and play a significant role in many societies’ livelihoods, cultures and religions, the paper said.

These primates help in the pollination, seed dispersion and seed germination of many plants and they are essential seed predators in some ecosystems.

Solutions suggested:

Building eco-friendly rubber plantations: Growing fruiting plants in rubber plantation areas, maintaining specified distance, so animals are more attracted to them.

Various plants should also be kept intact at the edges of the rubber plantation and around the water bodies, which provide shelter or food habitat for many animals in these areas

The agroforestry system allows rubber plants, forest vegetation, and edible and useful plants planted together and kept at proper intervals, which is economically suitable and also will help conserve biodiversity.

Other impacts of Monoculture farming:

Continuous monoculture, or “monocropping” where the same species is grown year after year, can lead to unsustainable environments such as building up disease pressure and reducing particular nutrients in the soil. Under certain circumstances, monocropping can lead to deforestation

It reduces the availability of certain nutrients and degrades the soil. Monocultures may therefore also lead to soil exhaustion when the soil becomes depleted of these nutrients.

Centre clears 19,744-crore Green Hydrogen Mission

In News:

Union Cabinet has approved the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which is aimed at making India the global hub for the production of green hydrogen.

Expected Mission Outcomes:

  • Development of Green Hydrogen Production Capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum
  • Renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country by 2030
  • Over 8 lakh crores in total investments
  • Creation of over 6 lakh jobs by 2030
  • Saving over 1 lakh crore in fossil fuel import
  • Reduction in about 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

Components of the Mission:

  • SIGHT (Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition Programme) under this, two financial incentive mechanisms have been created:
  • Targeting domestic manufacturing of electrolysers
  • Production of green hydrogen
  • Strategic Hydrogen Innovation Partnership (SHIP): Under this Public-private partnership framework for R&D will be facilitated under the mission.
  • Green Hydrogen Hubs: Regions capable of supporting large-scale production and/or utilization of hydrogen will be identified and developed as Green Hydrogen Hubs
  • Policy Framework: An enabling policy framework will be developed to support the establishment of the green hydrogen ecosystem.
  • Standards and regulations framework will be also developed
  • A coordinated skill development programme will also be undertaken
  • Support pilot projects in emerging end-use sectors and production pathways

India’s status for Green Hydrogen:

  • India has just begun to generate green hydrogen with the objective of raising non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030.
  • Oil India Limited (OIL) recently commissioned India’s first 99% pure green hydrogen plant in eastern Assam’s Jorhat
  • NTPC (in Kawas, Surat) has started India’s 1st Green Hydrogen Blending operation in Piped Natural gas (PNG) Network.
  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has given approval for a 5% blending of green hydrogen with PNG (later to be scaled to 20%)
  • Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has collaborated with business management consultant The Green Billions (TGBL) to manage its waste and generate it into useable green hydrogen (under the waste-to-hydrogen project)
  • Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP)to mobilise finance and speed up green energy development.

Benefits of the Mission:

  • Creation of export opportunities for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives
  • Decarbonization of Industrial, mobility and energy sectors
  • Reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock
  • Development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities
  • Creation of employment opportunities
  • Development of cutting-edge technologies

About the Mission:

National Hydrogen Mission was launched on August 15, 2021, with a view to cutting down carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.

Nodal Agency: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will formulate the scheme guidelines for implementation.

All concerned ministries, departments, agencies and institutions of the Central and State Governments will undertake focused and coordinated steps.

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening in Drylands

In News:

The food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released this report, under the framework of FAO’s Green Urban Oases Programme.

Key points highlighted by the report:

35% of the world’s largest cities (including New Delhi, Mexico City etc.) are built on the world’s dryland

Urban policies have yet to incorporate forestry and greening strategies in the majority of dryland cities


Select local trees for green spacing

Build local capacity and involve the community to create a sense of ownership

Create policies for urban greening

About the Green Urban Oases (GUO) Programme:

GUO program contributes to FAO’s Green Cities Initiative (2020) which aimed to improve the livelihoods of urban and peri-urban populations in at least 100 cities in the next 3 years.

The objective of the programme:

Turn dryland cities into “green urban oases”

Strengthen their overall resilience to climatic, health, food, and economic crisis

To reduce the impact of urbanization on biodiversity and the surrounding natural environment

What are drylands?

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines drylands according to an aridity index (AI), which is the ratio between average annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration; drylands are lands with an AI of less than 0.65 (Zero Point six five)

Dryland systems are ecosystems characterised by a lack of water. They include cultivated lands, scrublands, shrublands, grasslands, savannas, semi-deserts and true deserts. It makes up around 41% of the earth’s land ( mainly in Asia and Africa).

Silent Valley bird species go up to 175

In News:

A bird survey conducted at the Silent Valley National Park identified 141 species, of which 17 were new. So far, 175 species of birds have been spotted in Silent Valley.


The survey is the 30th anniversary of the first bird survey in Silent Valley.

Bird species found in Silent Valley National Park:

Brown wood owl, Banded Bay cuckoo, Malabar woodshrike, White-throated kingfisher, Indian nightjar, Jungle nightjar, and Large cuckooshrike were among the 17 species newly identified in the Silent Valley.

Silent Valley has several species endemic to high-elevation areas like Nilgiri laughingthrush, Nilgiri flowerpecker, Brown-cheeked fulvetta, Black-and-orange flycatcher, Grey-headed canary-flycatcher, greenish warbler, Common chiffchaff, Tytler’s leaf warbler, Shaheen falcon, Nilgiri wood pigeon, and Malabar whistling thrush.

About Silent Valley National Park:

The park is located in the Nilgiri hills. It is situated in the core of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

Silent Valley is home to the largest population of Lion-tailed macaques, an endangered primate specie.

River Kunthi descends from the Nilgiri hills and traverses the entire length of the valley.