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Biodiversity and its conservation
Biodiversity is that part of the nature which includes the differences in genes among the individuals of a species. Three types of diversity namely:
1. Genetic diversity 2. Species diversity 3. Ecosystem diversity
When there is a variation of genes within the same species (single population) and also among geographically separated population it is called genetic variation Change in external or internal factors is responsible for genetic variations There are about 10,000,000,000 different genes
2. Species diversity
The number of species of plants and animals that are present in a region constitutes its species diversity.
Approximately 13.92 million species on earth It is the most basic way to keep an account of biodiversity
3. Ecosystem diversity
It is described for a specific geographical region or country or state or a district. It includes landscapes like forests, grasslands, deserts, mountains, etc. as well as aquatic ecosystems like rivers, lakes and seas. Also there are manmodified areas such as farmlands or grazing pastures.
India’s Bio geographic Zones:
1. Trans Himalayan region of Ladakh 2. Himalayan ranges and valleys of Kashmir, HP, Uttrakhand, Assam and other NE states 3. Terai-lowland where the Himalayan rivers flow into the plains 4. The Gangetic and Brahmaputra plains 5. The Thar desert of Rajasthan
7. 8. 9. 10.
Semi-arid grassland of Deccan, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The NE states The Western ghats in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala The Andaman and Nicobar Islands The long western and eastern coast belt with sandy beaches, forests and mangroves.
Value of Biodiversity
Consumptive use value e.g. direct utilization of timber, food, fuel wood and fodder by local communities. Productive use value e.g. marketable goods Social value Ethical and moral values Aesthetic value Option value
Hotspots in Biodiversity
British ecologist, Norman Myers, devised the concept of biodiversity hotspots According to him, certain ecosystems despite their small size, account for a high percentage of global biodiversity. Biodiversity hotspots are environmental emergency rooms of the earth.
E.g., a terrestrial biodiversity hotspot is based on plant diversity that has: At least 0.5 percent or 1,500 of the world’s 3,00,000 species of green plants Has lost 70 percent of its primary vegetation
1. 2. 3.
8. 9. 10.
The identified hotspots around the world are: Tropical Andes Meso-American forests Caribbean Brazil’s Atlantic forests Choco Darien/western Ecuador Brazil’s Cerrado Central Chile California Floristic Province Madagascar Eastern Arc and Coastal forests of Tanzania/Kenya
11. Western African forest 12.Cape Floristic Province (South Africa) 13.Succulent Karoo 14.Mediterranean Basin 15.Caucasus 16.Sunderland 17.Wallace(Eastern Indonesia) 18.Phillipines 19.Indo-Burma(Eastern Himalayas) 20.South-central China 21.Western Ghats of India and the island of Sri Lanka 22.South West-Australia 23.New Caledonia 24.New Zealand 25.Polynesia and Micronesia Island complex including Hawaii
3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Nine new hotspots are: East Melanesian Island Madrean Pine-Oak Woodland on the USMexico border Japan Horn of Africa Iran-Anatolian region of Iran and Turkey Mountains of Central Asia Maputaland- Pondoland Albany in southern Africa Himalayan region Eastern afro-Montana along the edge of Africa along Saudi Arabia to Zimbabwe
Threats to Biodiversity
Loss/degradation of habitat Overexploitation of resources Pollution Extinction of species due to aggressive non-native species Global environmental changes
1. Loss/degradation of habitat
It is the greatest threat to the world According to IUCN in 2000, 89% of birds,83% of mammals and 91% of plants are affected by loss or degradation of habitat Causes are natural disasters and human intervention with natural resources Agricultural practices is the main cause 120 of 620 primates will be extinct Animals requiring larger areas for survival will be extinct e.g. Tigers, mountain gorillas, pandas, Lions, owls.
2. Overexploitation of resources
Unlimited extraction (through mining, fishing, logging, harvesting and poaching) Development work (human settlement, industry and associated infrastructure) Because of these factors animals like Tigers, giant pandas, black rhinoceros, musk deer, cod and whale are on the verge of extinction
Biodegradable waste degrades Non-biodegradable or less biodegradable waste remains in the environment and enters our food chain These wastes are very toxic e.g. DDT which affects all types of birds (peacocks, hawks, kites, etc.) Pollution in various forms is responsible for global climatic changes and for extinction of the species
4. Extinction of species due to aggressive non-native species
When two or more species are interdependent or a particular species has strong links with another, the Domino Effect takes place causing extinction of the weaker species This is the cause of extinction of almost 50% species on islands all over the world since 1600 A.D.
5. Global Environmental Change
35% of world’s terrestrial habitat may face extinction due to global warming Global warming is caused due to GHG ’s Leads to global environmental changes and leads to extinction of many species which fail to adapt and acclimatize to the changing environmental changes
Combating the problem
Worldwide reduction of industrial and domestic pollution Controlling overexploitation of natural resources Agricultural activities with conservation measures should be encouraged Parks and reserves to be set up to protect and rehabilitate wildlife and natural vegetation Formulate and implement strictly conservation legislations Progress in alarming loss of biodiversity on the actions of the government.
The main reason for this conflict is the growing anthropogenic pressure which results in: Fragmentation and honeycombing of animal habitat Loss of corridors and migratory routes for long range animals such as elephants, big cats, etc. Loss of food and water in their habitat due to the shrinking of forest cover and loss of biodiversity
The problem can be solved by: Good management practices Low cost strategies like electric fencing, community based natural resource management schemes Insurance programs along with regulated harvesting and wildlife or human translocation
Conservation of Biodiversity
4. 5. 6.
It includes: Protection of all critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, rare and other species of life present in the ecosystem Preservation of all varieties of old and new flora, fauna and microbes Protection and preservation of critical habitats, unique ecosystems Regulation of international trade in wildlife Reduction of pollution Increase in public awareness
Process of conservation can be broadly divided into two types:
I.) In-situ Conservation II.) Ex-situ Conservation
I.) In-situ Conservation
In this type of conservation, the natural process and its interaction with the habitat as well as with all the elements of biodiversity are conserved Basic principle is the protection and management of components of biological diversity through a network of protected areas in their natural habitat
It is done in the following ways: National Parks and Sanctuaries Natural Reserve or Biosphere Reserve Project Tiger
Disadvantage of in-situ conservation is that it requires a large area for the complete protection of bio diverstiy
II.) Ex-situ Conservation
There are two main steps: Identification of the species to be conserved The selection of method to be followed for its ex-situ conservation Long-Term Captive Breeding Short-Term Propagation and Release Animal Translocation Animal Reintroduction
Bio prospecting and Bio piracy
Bio prospecting is the collecting, cribbling of biological samples (of plants, animals and micro-organisms) and gathering indigenous knowledge to help in discovering genetic or biochemical resources
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