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Cactus Plantation and its Economic Usage

  • IASbaba
  • December 12, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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Context: Recently Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj convened a consultation meeting on ‘Cactus Plantation and its Economic Usage’.

  • Various options for taking up Cactus plantation on degraded land should be explored for realising the benefits of its usage for bio-fuel, food and bio-fertiliser were discussed in the meeting.
  • India has approximately 30% of its geographical area under the category of degraded land.

About Cactus:

  • A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae.
  • Although some species live in quite humid environments, most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought.
  • Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth.
    • Because of this, cacti show many adaptations to conserve water.
    • For example, almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water.
    • Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place.
  • Most species of cacti have only spines, which are highly modified leaves.
  • Spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade.
  • In the absence of true leaves, cacti’s enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis.

Conservation:

  • All cacti are included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Control is exercised by making international trade in most specimens of cacti illegal unless permits have been issued, at least for exports.
  • Some cacti, such as all Ariocarpus and Discocactus species, are included in the more restrictive Appendix I.

Uses:

  • Cactuses are known for their nutrients as well as their medicinal value.
  • Both cactus pads and cactus fruit can help fight infections and ease the symptoms of anything from hangovers to high cholesterol.
  • Both the cactus pad and the cactus fruit are high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • used as ornamental plants
  • used for fodder or forage,
  • Cactus fruits in particular are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is one of the best immune boosters.
    • Regular doses of vitamin C increase the production of white blood cells, which can make us less likely to catch an illness — and help your body fight off viruses if infected.
  • Nutrition: Cactus fruits and pads offer a dose of vitamins and nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Source:   PIB

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to “Gucchi” sometimes mentioned in the news, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a fungus.
  2. It grows in some Himalayan forest areas.
  3. It is commercially cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of north-eastern India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 2 and 3

Q,2) If a particular plant species is placed under Schedule VI of The Wildlife Protection Act,1972, what is the implication? (2020)

  1. A licence is required to cultivate that plant
  2. Such a plant cannot be cultivated under any circumstances
  3. It is a Genetically Modified crop plant
  4. Such a plant is invasive and harmful to the ecosystem

 

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