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Conservation of Biodiversity Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the variety of all species on earth.

It is the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, their genes, and the terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems of which they are a part. Biodiversity is both essential for our existence and intrinsically valuable in its own right. This is because biodiversity provides the fundamental building blocks for the many goods and services a healthy environment provides. These include things that are fundamental to our health, like clean air, fresh water and food products, as well as the many other products such as timber and fibre. Other important services provided by our biodiversity include recreational, cultural and spiritual nourishment that maintain our personal and social wellbeing. Looking after our biodiversity is therefore an important task for all people. The main threats to our biodiversity are: loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat the spread of invasive species unsustainable use of natural resources climate change inappropriate fire regimes changes to the aquatic environment and water flows

Conservation Strategies Maintaining viable populations of species whether plant or animal, is a crucial factor in biodiversity conservation and this requires the appropriate conservation of important ecosystems and habitats. Conservation strategies are urgently needed for the protection of species and ecosystems, involving a mix of in situ and ex situ strategies. Some of the steps in such a policy include the following. Population surveys and assessments and database creation Adequate data on species diversity, populations, location and extent of habitat, major threats to different species, etc. , and changes in these aspects over time are not available to design a proper strategy for conservation. Given our extensive diversity, ecological

surveys and taxonomic investigations need to be intensified, particularly for plants and insects. For conducting ecological studies, species for such studies can be prioritized including keystone species, large mammals, migratory species, etc. The country's wildlife institutions need to network and coordinate their activities so that priority issues and areas are identified. Mapping of forest types, protected areas, and natural forests It is important to generate maps of the protected areas of the country showing their contiguity with the existing reserve and protected forests. This will provide a way for determining possible corridors, habitat contiguity, and buffer zones and facilitate biodiversity conservation. Further, vegetation mapping according to forest types needs to be done for the entire country. The Forest Survey of India data need to show the disaggregated changes in area according to forest types and natural forest areas. Current data on canopy densities make it difficult to estimate the changes in area under dense, natural, or near-natural forests. Improved protection efforts and a landscape approach to conservation Owing to habitat fragmentation and consequent losses suffered by different populations, there is need for ensuring the safety of the biodiversity lying outside our protected areas. Population viability analyses for different species have revealed that the loss of even a single individual from a small isolated population could adversely affect the population structure and viability and push many species towards extinction. The need of the hour is a landscape approach to conservation where protected and non-protected areas are integrated through significant protection measures initiated at both the state and local community levels. Preservation plots A number of states, eg. Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, have forest preservation plots. These are important means for conserving and protecting important floral species as well as for assessing ecological changes occurring in such areas over a period of time. These plots need to be demarcated and actively maintained.