TIGER DENSITY IN INDIA
- March 7, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
TIGER DENSITY IN INDIA
Context- A study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) suggest that the density of tigers in the Sunderbans may have reached the carrying capacity of the mangrove forests, leading to frequent dispersals and a surge in human-wildlife conflict.
Tiger Density in India: The correlation between prey availability and tiger density is fairly established.
|Terai and Shivalik hills habitat. eg. Corbett Tiger Reserve
|10-16 tigers can survive in 100 sq km.
|reserves of north-central Western Ghats such as Bandipur
|7-11 tigers per 100 sq km
|dry deciduous forests, such as Kanha, of central India.
|6-10 tigers per 100 sq km
|around 4 tigers per 100 sq km.
Conflict: cause or effect
- The consequence, as classical theories go, is frequent dispersal of tigers leading to higher levels of human-wildlife conflict in the reserve peripheries.
- Physical (space) and biological (forest productivity) factors have an obvious influence on a reserve’s carrying capacity of tigers.
- More so when different land uses overlap and a good number of people depend on forest resources for livelihood.
Why tiger corridors are not a solution?
- Not all dispersing tigers will chance upon corridors simply because many will find territories of other tigers between them and such openings.
- The corridors may not lead to viable forests in reserves such as Sunderbans, bounded by the sea and villages.
CARRYING CAPACITY and LIMITING FACTORS:
Organisms need resources to survive. They also require space to live. There are limited resources and only so much space in an ecosystem. These features are called limiting factors. Limiting factors regulate how many organisms live in an ecosystem. Space, food, oxygen, and water are limiting factors. Temperature and precipitation determine the climate of an ecosystem, which impacts the organisms that can live in an ecosystem.
An ecosystem can support only so large of a population. The maximum population size that an ecosystem can support is called carrying capacity. Limiting factors determine carrying capacity. The availability of abiotic factors (such as water, oxygen, and space) and biotic factors (such as food) dictates how many organisms can live in an ecosystem. Carrying capacity is also impacted by the availability of decomposers. Decomposers break down and recycle dead organisms and organic matter. They prevent dead matter from accumulating and taking up space in an ecosystem.
In an ecosystem, the population of a species will increase until reaches the carrying capacity. Then the population size remains relatively the same. If abiotic or biotic factors change, the carrying capacity changes as well. Natural disasters can destroy resources in an ecosystem. If resources are destroyed, the ecosystem will not be able to support a large population. This causes the carrying capacity to decrease. Humans can also alter carrying capacity. Our activities can decrease or increase carrying capacity. We alter carrying capacity when we manipulate resources in a natural environment.
If a population exceeds carrying capacity, the ecosystem may become unsuitable for the species to survive. If the population exceeds the carrying capacity for a long period of time, resources may be completely depleted. Populations may die off if all of the resources are exhausted.
- Artificially boosting the prey base in a reserve is often an intuitive solution but it can be counter-productive.
- To harness the umbrella effect of tigers for biodiversity conservation, it is more beneficial to increase areas occupied by tigers.
- Create safe connectivity among forests and allow tigers to disperse safely to new areas.