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Rubber plantations in Tripura affecting monkeys, vegetation, suggests paper

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Indian Geography


Source: DTE


Context:  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.



Primates: They are a member of the most developed and intelligent group of mammals, including humans, monkeys, and apes.


Fourteen species of nonhuman primates occur in India—six species of macaques, five of langurs, two of looses, and one species of gibbon (ape)

Mains Links:

Q. What do you understand by Monoculture farming? Analyse its impact on the agroecology of the country, how can one stop it from depleting the natural resources? (250 Words)