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Monsoons

THE RETREATING MONSOON
  • The amount and frequency of rain decreases towards the end of the rainy season. It retreats gradually southwards after mid-September until it leaves the continent altogether.
  • The skies are clear again and the cool, dry season returns in October, with the out blowing North-East Monsoon.
The role of monsoons in India is vital for its economy TROPICAL MARINE CLIMATE
  • Outside the monsoon zone, the climate is modified by the influence of the on-shore Trade Winds all the year round. This type of climate is called Tropical Marine Climate. Such a climate has a more evenly distributed rainfall.
  • Such a climate is experienced in Central America, West Indies, north-eastern Australia, the Philippines, parts of East Africa, Madagascar, the Guinea Coast and eastern Brazil.
  • The rainfall is both orographic where the moist trades meet upland masses as in eastern Brazil, and convectional due to intense heating during the day and in summer.
  • Its tendency is towards a summer maximum without any distinct dry period.
  • Due to the steady influence of the trades, the Tropical Marine Climate is more Favourable for habitation, but it is prone to severe tropical cyclones, hurricanes or typhoons.
TROPICAL MONSOON FORESTS Drought-deciduous forest; dry forest; dry-deciduous forest; tropical deciduous forest.
  • Broad-leaved hardwood trees. Well developed in southeast Asia.
  • Trees are normally deciduous, because of the marked dry period, during which they shed their leaves to withstand the drought [They shed their leaves to prevent loss water through transpiration].
  • The forests are more open and less luxuriant than the equatorial jungle and there are far fewer species.
  • Where the rainfall is heavy, e.g. in southern Burma, peninsular India, northern Australia and coastal regions with a tropical marine climate, the resultant vegetation is luxuriant.
  • With a decrease in rainfall in summer, the forests thin out into thorny scrubland or savanna with scattered trees and tall grass.
  • In parts of the Indian sub-continent, rainfall is so deficient that semi-desert conditions are found in summer. Monsoonal vegetation is thus most varied, ranging from forests to thickets, and from savanna to scrubland.
POPULATION AND ECONOMY IN MONSOON CLIMATE
  • Monsoon climatic regions support high population density.
  • Income levels are low as most of these regions are underdeveloped or developing.
  • Subsistence farming is the main occupation. (crops grown with an intention to secure food for the season. The crops are not sold as the production is very low).
  • Intensive cultivation is common in regions with irrigational facilities.
  • Shifting cultivation is followed in North-East India and South-East countries.
  • Major crops include rice, sugar, cotton, jute, spices, etc..
  • Cattle and sheep rearing is carried out for domestic and commercial purposes. Livestock industry is not as profitable as in temperate regions.
AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE MONSOON LANDS
  • Much of the monsoon forest has been cleared for agriculture to support the very dense population. Subsistence agriculture is the major occupation.
  • Farms are small and the people are forever ‘land hungry.’ Industrialization make things worse.
  • Tropical agriculture dependent on natural rainfall and a large labour force, reaches its greatest magnitude in the monsoon lands.
  • Farming is the dominant occupation of the Indian sub-continent, China, South- East Asia, eastern Brazil and the West Indies. The following types of agriculture are recognizable.
CROPS
  • Rice is the most important staple crop.
  • Irrigation water from rivers, canals, dams or wells is extensively used in the major rice producing countries.
  • Other food crops like maize, millet, sorghum, wheat, gram and beans are of subsidiary importance. They are cultivated in the drier or cooler areas where rice cannot be grown.
LOW LAND CASH CROP
  • The most important crop in this category is cane sugar.
  • As much as two-thirds of world’s sugar production comes from tropical countries.
  • Some of the major producers include India, Java, Formosa, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados.
  • Jute is confined almost entirely to the Ganges – Brahmaputra delta, in India and Bangladesh.
  • Other crops include cotton, a major commercial crop of the Indian sub-continent.
HIGHLAND PLANTATION CROPS
    • The colonization of tropical lands by Europeans gave rise to a new form of cultivated landscape in the cooler monsoonal highlands.
  • Thousands of acres of tropical upland forests were cleared to make way for plantation agriculture in which tea and coffee are the most important crops.
COFFEE
  • Coffee originated in Ethiopia and Arabia.
  • But Brazil accounts for almost half the world’s production of coffee.
  • It is mainly grown on the eastern slopes of the Brazilian plateau.
  • The crop is also cultivated on the highland slopes in the Central American states, India and eastern Java.
TEA
  • Tea originated in China and is still an important crop there.
  • It requires moderate temperatures (about 15° C), heavy rainfall (over 150 cm) and well drained highland slopes.
  • It thrives well in the tropical monsoon zone (highlands).
  • The best regions are thus the Himalayan foothills of India and Bangladesh, the central highlands of Sri Lanka and western Java, from all of which it is exported.
In China tea is grown mostly for local consumption
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