National Parks are an area designated by the government for the organized conservation of plants and animals. Due to their exceptional scientific and historical relevance, they are also intended for public leisure. All landscapes, plants, and species in national parks are preserved in their natural state. The system also featured monuments, system reserves, seashores, recreational areas, historic parks, sites, motorways, scenic paths, and battlefields in addition to parks. In a nutshell, the specifically designated region typically contains a multitude of natural reserves that are also of high ecological significance.
The Concept of National Parks
It is generally believed that the notion of a state-owned park or nature reserve originated in the United States in 1870 and that Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was the world’s first such park, established by legislation signed by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. However, some naturalists and others have contended that there is evidence that the founding of Bogd Khan Mountain National Park in Mongolia predates Yellowstone, which may date back to 1778.
What is the importance of National Parks?
National parks are one of the most well-known options for conservation and maintaining the ecological balance of the planet. They are extremely important in numerous ways. As per the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), there are 6,555 National parks in the World. In a national park, the majority of landscapes and their surrounding flora and animals are preserved in their natural state.
National parks in the United States and Canada tend to prioritize the conservation of both land and wildlife, whereas those in the United Kingdom prioritize the protection of land and those in Africa prioritize the protection of animals. Several other countries, like Brazil, Japan, India, and Australia, have extensive national park reserves. Let’s have look at some important aspects of National Parks.
The planet is rapidly losing its natural resources. According to a study, 477 species have become extinct in the past 30 years, a figure that is disturbing by any measure. Their habitats are being destroyed globally as a result of urbanization, deforestation, and human activity. Now, national parks are a remedy for this issue.
There are trees and natural highlands that provide cover for birds, animals, predators, and prey. The vigilant forest rangers who care for these national parks keep a close eye on poachers, enabling the reproduction and multiplication of creatures to the point of extinction. This is how they contribute to the maintenance of the ecological pyramid and a perfect food chain, which protects the required proportion of keystone species.
National parks that are well-preserved are a significant source of revenue for the country because they attract so many tourists. These parks with abundant wildlife attract not just the hospitality business and hotels, but also stay-inns that generate substantial money for the government.
For instance, Australia’s national parks generate $23 billion annually, whereas those in the United States generate $32 billion annually. Almost KSH 84.6 billion is generated by tourism in Kenya’s national parks. In contrast, India gets Rs. 1.49 crore from wildlife tourism. Not only are these national parks equipped with modern amenities, but they also have staff members whose major task is the optimal care and maintenance of all the natural resources.
Health and Well-being
Environmental scientists’ cutting-edge contemporary research focuses on the multiple good effects of being in contact with nature and natural surroundings. It has been discovered that disorders such as respiratory issues, high blood pressure, stress, frustration, eye problems, rage, and frustration can be treated by spending time in the national park’s verdant environment. In addition, people have selected these national parks as a venue for social bonding and a place that stimulates children’s learning.
Today, schools place a great deal of emphasis on encouraging pupils to enroll in elective courses such as wildlife, which increases their awareness of animals and their habitats. This enables pupils to comprehend the significance of ecological equilibrium and a clean environment in light of the current climate catastrophe. National parks play a significant role in increasing greenery and reducing the carbon emissions caused by automobiles in cities around the world.
Social and Cultural Values
The rich history and culture of the national parks reverberate to every corner of the globe. The national parks function as a natural history book spanning millennia. The national parks include evidence of history dating back 22,000 years. Aboriginal people utilize Australia’s protected areas in a variety of ways, including as a source of food, medicine, trade, and ceremonial practices.
National parks provide individuals the ability to connect with and share precious cultural information. The Olduvai Gorge, located close to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, has Palaeolithic human, animal, and plant fossils.
How Do National Parks Help the Environment?
National parks are areas free of human influence other than for tourist and veterinary purposes. National parks play a crucial role in preserving the ecological equilibrium and biodiversity of the environment. Let us now examine the environmental advantages of national parks.
National parks play a crucial role in preserving the world’s nearly extinct species. The staff officials devote their entire time to keeping a watchful eye on poachers and the health of the animals, in coordination with vets.
Bandhavgarh, Bandipur, Sundarbans, and Ranthambore are the four locations in India where tigers have been reintroduced as a result of comprehensive efforts. Similarly, the Cuban Solenodon was supposed to be extinct, but you may now observe them at Cuba’s Alejandro de Humboldt National Park.
Sources of Energy
National parks are energy sources that contribute to the production of clean and renewable energy, hence lowering and combating carbon emissions. Additionally, the park’s devoted employees conserve and maintain water. The Children’s Eternal Rainforest Reserve in Costa Rica is an example of a reserve that supplies water to a hydroelectric power company.
Since national parks play an important part in biodiversity and ecosystem, environment scientists find them to be an ideal location for doing the study. There are numerous types of studies being conducted on the ecological effects of storms throughout the world. Since national parks contain a great variety of flora and animals, they are also the ideal location for ecological investigations.
Maintaining a Healthy Ecosystem
National parks are truly significant since they contribute to the maintenance of a healthy ecology. National parks are effective in a variety of ways, including the absorption of carbon dioxide from automobiles and the regulation of oxygen emissions, due to the constant growth of vegetation in these areas.
In reality, tree roots are the most effective at holding soil in place and preventing erosion. As numerous arboreal animals inhabit the forest, their burrowing behavior is excellent for soil aeration, which helps to maintain a healthy soil texture. In addition, the decomposition of tree leaves and animal bodies makes the soil fertile and mineral-rich. Occasionally, the trees kept in a national park can provide unusual medicines.
Disadvantages of National Parks
National parks, despite being the true patriots of conservation and nature, have disadvantages.
- They cover a vast region, but surrounding residential complexes always represent a risk of encroachment by wild animals in search of food. Therefore, border security must be vigilantly and continuously reinforced. Such occurrences are quite frequent, particularly in Nairobi, where locals living near the national park have complained about lions invading residential areas.
- Frequently, governments recognize that the amount of money spent on maintaining national parks is disproportionate to the amount of revenue generated. When wildlife tourism has a slow period, the expense of sustaining these parks frequently exceeds the revenue collected.
- The presence of winding roads in national parks frequently causes traffic congestion. Parking spaces are limited and frequently in short supply.
- In big national parks such as Lake District in South Wales, footpath erosion becomes a major issue.
- The national parks in the United States encourage second houses for local residents. These are the residences where the occupants are missing. They are similar to tourists, and while they remain within or near the national park, their actions frequently disturb the animals’ quiet.
National Parks in India
The purpose of national park is to preserve the natural environment. Additionally, they participate in public relaxation and enjoyment activities. The scenery, vegetation, and animals of a national park are in their natural state.
India is a biodiversity hotspot. Under the Indomalayan ecozone, there are around 7.6 percent mammals, 6.2% reptiles, 12.6% birds, and 6.0 percent flowering plant species. Numerous ecoregions of our nation, such as the Shola forests, have high rates of endemism. The forests span from the tropical rainforest, the Western Ghats, and Northeast India to the coniferous forests of the Himalayas.
The major terrestrial environment bordering the Indo-Malayan ecozone is comprised of temperate, arctic, wet, and dry habitats for many species. The species include elephants, tigers, cobras, crocodiles, apes, sambar deer, spotted deer, rhinoceroses, goats, and lions, as well as various forms of flora and fauna. There are around 99 internationally designated national parks in various parts of India. The IUCN or International Union for the Conservation of Nature has designated these national parks and wildlife reserves as the second category of protected places.
List of National Parks in India
National park provide wildlife with a refuge from civilization. Currently, India has more than 100 national parks dispersed throughout the country and spanning many biomes. The first national park in India is the Hailey National Park. It is among the finest instances of ecological preservation. The other national parks in India include:
- Bandipur National Park in Karnataka
- Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh
- Bannerghatta National Park in Karnataka
- Desert National Park in Kerala
- Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh
- Gir National Park and Sasan Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat
- Hemis National Park in Ladakh
- Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand
- Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh
- Kaziranga National Park in Assam
- Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan
- Kutru (Indravati) National Park in Chhattisgarh
- Manas National Park in Assam
- Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka
- Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh
- Papikonda National Park in Andhra Pradesh
- Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh
- Periyar National Park in Kerala.
- Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh
- Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan
- Sariska National Park in Rajasthan
- Silent Valley National Park in Kerala
- Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra
- The Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh
All of these national parks are home to a high number of wild animals due to the favorable natural circumstances, as well as the availability of suitable breeding and rearing facilities.