We are living on a beautiful planet called Earth. It is the only planet where life exists. Sun, water bodies and plants have a major role in prevailing life on earth. All these together create an ideal atmosphere for the occurrence of life on this planet. The planet is full of various life forms. Some are discovered by humans, and many are left to be discovered. The two most common things one can see on this planet in abundance after humans are ‘Plants’ and ‘Animals’. Plants and animals play an essential role in the sustenance of life on this planet. Plants and Animals are fascinating things, and that is why researchers and scientists show a keen interest in studying them.
Evolution of the term Flora and Fauna
Study of plants comes under the category of Flora, where animals are studied in Fauna. But why Flora and Fauna terms are associated with Plants and Animals respectively. Have you ever thought about this? What is the origin of these two terms? Both words have their origin in the Latin language. The word Flora means goddess of Flowers in Latin. Fauna is a Greek word that means forest spirits. So now you have got the idea of how these two words came into existence.
Interaction with nature allows a human to become natural. We are so much engrossed with technology that we have forgotten about the essence of human life. We all are living in the materialistic world and due to which we have lost touch with the environment. Human is lost in technology and thus causing grave destruction to the environment. When we put ourselves in the lap of nature only then we can find the true essence of life. Only nature can solve the existential crisis most of the people facing nowadays. Nature is the greatest teacher of all time, as told you earlier, it teaches us the meaning of this life, love, survival and lot more things.
‘Come forth into the light of things let nature be your teacher’- William Wordsworth
It sounds philosophical but true about nature. Let’s come back to science again and discover more interesting facts about Flora and Fauna. Biologists use these two terms that are Flora and Fauna when they study different species of plants and animals of a specific geographic region.
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What is Flora? And Classification of Flora
Though we have discussed in short about Flora in the previous sections of this blog to understand the concept of flora completely, we need to go into deep and learn everything about it.
Flora is a term mainly used for the collection of plants that grow in a specific geographical location at a given time period. Initially, Flora defined a certain plant type which is native to the location but later different species of plants introduced in a region also came under the name Flora.
In Roman mythology Flora means goddess of fertility, and from there this term was taken and used for denoting plants. Plants that grow in deserts are different from those in the mountains. Similarly, plantation inside the ocean or sea water is different from that in the river or lakes. Scientists and biologists have made different classification of Flora on the basis of location and use. Let’s read about them one by one:
Fossil flora contains plant life of the prehistoric time.
These species of plants are indigenous to a specific location. For example, Cactus is a plant that only found in Deserts mainly although they can be grown in any region but are natives to desert areas.
Agriculture Flora is a plant grown by humans for a certain purpose. These plants can be foreign or native and fulfil human needs. They are very useful as they provide food and herbal benefits to humans.
These are the plants grown by humans mainly for the decorations. These plants are used in various occasions and festivals.
These plants are undesirable in some areas and can be harmful to native plant life. They take the nutrition of native plants. Therefore, farmers usually remove the weeds from the native plants.
What is Fauna?
Now let’s talk about Fauna, Fauna is the name given to collective animal species in a particular region at a specific time period. Both Flora and Fauna have branches. Fauna is also divided into various parts. The division helps in getting a good understanding of the Fauna. Let’s read them to gain information about fauna.
Avifauna is related to birds. Here scientists study various species of birds, their habitat and time of migration etc.
This area of Fauna deals with the study of different varieties of fishes found in various water bodies throughout the globe.
They are the minute microorganisms found in soil. They are studied with the help of a microscope. Examples of microfauna are: nematodes, worms, single-celled organisms, arthropods etc. they are mostly present in the soil. They get their food by feeding themselves on smaller microorganisms.
Cryptofauna is a class of animals that cannot be found easily or rare. Sometimes mythological animals are also studied under Cryptofauna.
Unlike microfauna, megafauna studies large animals which are clearly visible from naked eyes.
Earth has been blessed with so much Flora and Fauna; there are great varieties of animals and plants that provide benefits to humans in more than one way. We get various resources and minerals from our ecosystem. Without plants and animals survival of humans on this planet will become next to impossible. Thus preventing the environment should be the utmost priority.
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Why Flora and Fauna hold so much importance?
This question is very common, and we often ponder over this a lot. How plants can help humans or why animals have so much role in our life. To answer this question lets read the points given below. You will understand how Flora and Fauna play a vital role in the life of every individual living on this planet.
Maintains ecological balance
Human life needs flora and fauna to survive on this planet. Flora helps in the generation of oxygen into the environment. Whereas Fauna that is Animal, they produce carbon dioxide in large amounts. Plants absorb carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide helps plants in carrying out the photosynthesis process. This relation between plants and animals follows a symbiotic relation. In the same way, humans also take oxygen from plants and exhale carbon dioxide. Thus ecological balance is maintained by Flora and Fauna.
Flora and Fauna both are essential for humans. Humans get food, medicinal elements, from plants and animals. Fauna provides food and fills the surplus population. Flora also provides ideal conditions for rain. Therefore one cannot neglect the importance of Flora and Fauna in keeping nature in balanced form.
Animals do have a vital role in eco-balance. Animals feed on other plants and small animals and control their population and growth. Animal waste products act as a fertilizer and manure for plants and soil respectively. Dead and decayed animals also refill the minerals of soil and increase the fertility of the soil. Animal waste also provides an ideal condition for various essential microorganisms to grow. This is how animals maintain balance in nature.
Natural Beauty and rejuvenation
Human beings love to spend their time in and around nature. It is no surprise that nature helps us to recover and act as an anti-depressant for us. This is the reason why we use to go to some hill station or coastal areas whenever we get free time. Flora and Fauna both act as a rejuvenating agent for us. Billions of people every year love to go to a place where they can connect with nature. In this way, Flora and Fauna both are important for us. They have a positive impact on our psychological health. This makes us understand the significance of flora and fauna in our lives.
Expands local economies
Flora and Fauna also help in the economic development of a country or area. For example, many people visit wildlife sanctuaries and forests every year. This generates a lot of revenue for the native people. Exotic locations like Indonesia, Bahamas etc. have a great crowd turnover.
Examples of Flora
This tree is a flowering plant of the spurge family. The origin of this tree is in Northern South America and Southern North America. This flowering tree bears grapes. These grapes can cause rashes to humans if they are wet and due to this reason, it is not advisable to take shelter under this tree. During rain also this tree produces milk that can cause blisters and burns to humans. Also one cannot eat the fruit of this tree as fruits can also cause blisters and burn in mouth and throat.
Giant redwood trees
The giant redwood tree is mostly found in high altitude region. They are considered as the tallest trees on earth. The average height of these trees is 350 feet approx. They are commonly found in the north coast in California. Humid and rainy weather of this place allows the growth of these trees. Wide range of bird species found shelter in the canopies of Giant Redwood trees. The forest made up of these trees provide habitat to various animals.
Earlier two examples of trees are photosynthetic. They create their food with the help of photosynthesis. However, Nepenthes is quite different from the above two examples. This tree came under the pitcher plants and found in Borneo forest. These trees have large leaves that work as large picture structure. The leaves of these trees contain a sweet fragrance which attracts different insects and few reptile species. These leaves act in the same way as pitcher plant. Insects get trap in it and don’t find the way out. The pitchers of these plants also have digestive enzymes that start the digestion process immediately.
This plant is mainly found in Namid desert, near to Angola and Namibia in Southern Africa. Welwitschia Mirabilis plant is having two large leaves and looks like a wilted plant. This plant grows in the dry region if you provide water to this plant in excess, then it could kill the plant. This plant is the only plant who doesn’t like rain. The age of this plant is more than 1500 years.
Examples of Fauna
Just like flora we have fauna of different types and characteristics. Let’s read about them in detail.
Corals or coral reefs can mesmerize anyone. They are found in the ocean water bed and are colored. They look similar to a plant, but in reality, they are animals of fauna. These ocean animals are immobile and stay at a single place for years. They feed by picking the prey which comes in their contact. Examples of corals are zooplankton. Great barrier reefs in Australia are one of the biggest coral on planet Earth.
Eltham copper butterfly
This butterfly species found in Eltham a place in Victoria. They were first discovered in 1938. They are the glittering butterfly and have copper color on its wings. The color of copper makes them easily visible during the summer season.
Flora and fauna are of utmost importance for humans and for this planet. There are many more species of different types of flora and fauna present around the globe. Some species are discovered, and many more are still in search. Flora and fauna are responsible for the beautification of planet Earth. Without them, the earth will become a barren land. Plants and animals bring life to this planet. It is our duty to keep it safe and undisturbed. Technical advancement is leading towards the destruction of natural habitat and deteriorating the plants and animals at large quantity. If we do not pay attention to our actions now, we all have to pay in the future.
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