Introduction

Reef fishes and corals at French Frigate Shoals, Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Corals reefs are the most diverse marine ecoystems. Photo by James Watt.

The word "biodiversity" is a contracted version of "biological diversity". TheConvention on Biological Diversity defines biodiversity as:"the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and ofecosystems." Thus, biodiversity includes genetic variation within species, the variety of species in an area, and the variety of habitat types within a landscape. Perhaps inevitably, such an all-encompassing definition, together with the strong emotive power of the concept, has led to somewhat cavalier use of the term biodiversity, in extreme cases to refer to life or biology itself. But biodiversity properly refers to the variety of living organisms. Biological diversity is of fundamental importance to the functioning of all natural and human-engineered ecosystems, and by extension to the ecosystem services that nature provides free of charge to human society. Living organisms play central roles in the cycles of major elements (carbon, nitrogen, and so on) and water in the environment, and diversity specifically is important in that these cycles require numerous interacting species. General interest in biodiversity has grown rapidly in recent decades, in parallel with the growing concern about nature conservation generally, largely as a consequence of accelerating rates of natural habitat loss, habitat fragmentationand degradation, and resulting extinctions of species. The IUCN Red List estimates that 12-52% of species within well-studied higher taxa such as vertebrates and vascular plants are threatened with extinction. Based on data on recorded extinctions of known species over the past century, scientists estimate that current rates of species extinction are about 100 times higher than long-term average rates based on fossil data. Other plausuble estimates suggest that present extinction rates now may have

000 times the average over past geologic time. preservation. The status of species has been assessed on a global scale by the World Conservation Union. Zoos. botanical gardens and seed banks are all example of ex-situ conservation. These estimates are the basis of the consensus that the Earth is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event in its history. Other reasons for conserving biodiversity include securing valuable Natural Resources for future generations and protecting the well being of eco-system functions. Taxa that are facing a high risk of global extinction are catalogued and highlighted in the IUCN Red List . Ex-situ: The conservation of elements of biodiversity out of the context of their natural habitats is referred to as ex-situ conservation. ‘Hotspot’ a term used to define regions of high conservation priority combining high richness. In-situ conservation is not always possible as habitats may have been degraded and there may be competition for land which means species need to be removed from the area to save them. For more information on hotspots Threatened Species Over the last 200 years many species have become extinct and the extinction rate is on the increase due to the influence of human activity. Since it is not possible to conserve all biodiversity due to lack of resources and the need to use land for human activities. the present extinction event is termed the Holocene Mass Extinction. species and ecosystems where they naturally occur. Other services provided from biodiversity by following this link: Services for Biodiversity page In-situ and ex-situ conservation Conservation can broadly be divided into two types: In-situ: Conservation of habitats. or restoration of wildlife and natural resources such as forests and water. Which areas to conserve? Hotspots of biodiversity A popular approach for selecting priority areas has been to select hotspots of diversity. Through the conservation of biodiversity the survival of many species and habitats which are threatened due to human activities can be ensured. This is in-situ conservation and the natural processes and interaction are conserved as well as the elements of biodiversity. high endemism and high threat.reached 1000 to 10. management. Conservation Of Bio-Diversity Conservation is the protection. areas are prioritised to those which are most in need of conservation.

If a habitat is degraded or disappears a species may also become threatened. complementarity methods can be applied Integrating conservation and development Conservation can not be conducted in isolation from humans and for conservation to be successful and sustainable there needs to be local community involvement. The UK is in danger of losing diverse habitats ranging from lowland calcareous grassland to mudflats and wet woodland. The UK BAP has specific Habitat Action Plans in place in order to try and mange and conserve these precious places. Complementarity Complementarity is a method used to select areas for conservation. The Red list database and guidelines on the application of IUCN Red List criteria at sub-national or regional levels can be accessed by following the links below: Threatened Habitats Habitat destruction comes in many forms from clear felling of forests to simple changes in farming practices that change the overall surrounding habitat. These are known as keystone species. Where identities of species or other biodiversity indicators (see the measuring biodiversity page) are known. 1) Some species are key to the functioning of a habitat and their loss would lead to greater than average change in other species populations or ecosystem processes. These methods are used to find areas that in sum total have the highest representation of diversity. an acceptance of priorities must recognise that this idea also implies that some areas will be given lower priority. For example using complementarity methods. For example it would be easier to persuade people that it is necessary to conserve tigers that it is to persuade people to conserve the Zayante band-winged grasshopper. In the UK most biodiversity is found in countryside which is farmed. This is usually for two reasons. Flagship and keystone species Conservation efforts are often focused on a single species. 2) Humans will find the idea of conserving one species more appealing than conserving others.of Threatened Species. areas could be selected that would contain the most species between them but not necessarily be the most species rich areas individually and take into account pressures of development. Using a flagship species such as a tiger will attract more resources for conservation which can be used to conserve areas of habitat. Distinguishing higher from lower priority areas for urgent conservation is the purpose of such area-selection methods. This is not to say that they have no conservation values rather that in relation to agreed goals the actions are not as urgent. It is therefore necessary to integrate . However. Many of these areas lie within SSSIs which are designated prioritised areas of conservation.

IIED have set up a Biodiversity and Livelihoods Group which aims through sustainable management of biodiversity to improve the livelihoods of the poor. manage relevant knowledge. In other areas of the world livelihood and development priorities of local communities must be taken into account if the conservation measures are to be sustainable. and support learning across countries and cultures and in this way achieve better results. Conservation On The Ground Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) is a registered non-government organisation (NGO) that aims to demonstrate the conservation of biological diversity through the active participation of local communities combined with the use of research techniques Sacred Groves are relic forest patches traditionally protected by communities in reverence of a deity. analyses and implements new projects and strategies around the world. India has well over 13. In absence of statutory protected areas and in the wake of mass deforestation in some parts of India. CBNRM Net (Community-Based Natural Resource Management Network) is a website that provides useful networking tools so that people can exchange experiences. Almost every village in the Sahaydri-Konkan region (north Western Ghats) has at least one Sacred Grove ranging from just a few acres to hundreds of acres. Sacred Groves form important repositories of forest biodiversity and provide refuge to many plant and animal species of conservation significance.000 documented Sacred Groves. The immediate purpose of applied research is to produce knowledge that will help find real solutions to real problems . Together these groves created a network of patches within the landscape often connected by seed dispersing birds such as the Great Pied and the Malabar Pied Hornbills. BLG researches.conservation into farming practices. Community-Based Natural Resource Management is a process through which grass roots institutions are involved in the decision making and have rights to manage and control their environment.

some areas are experiencing torrential rains and flash floods while other regions have been deserted by rains for a long time. Climate Change and Conservation are deeper than they appear to be. the communities too have begun to form a collective understanding about climate change and livelihoods. Over the past decade. Research is only better if results have scientific credibility and will benefit society or improve the understanding of conservation problems and issues and thereby aid in devising solutions. To solve these problems. so is the cropping seasons and choices made by the farmers. The first step is to create awareness among the community about climate change and the need of local level adaptations. AERF has been in a process of building resilience within the ecosystems as well as among local communities to prepare the landscapes for adaptation. research is essential. Therefore there is a need to develop mechanisms of adaptations among these communities who are at the frontline to experience the change in the climate.Introduction: Conservation is the practice of solving problems. This is because such changes on local and regional levels certainly affect the livelihoods and food security. it has become clear for the scientific community that the linkages between Community. In Northern Western Ghats the communities are interacting with the impacts of Climate change through these indicators: + Changing monsoon cycle for last few years + Delayed onset of monsoon + Flash floods and increasing cycles of droughts For the farmers. a good amount of knowledge is required and to build good knowledge and understanding. This is a direct impact of climate change is becoming frequent and is closely experienced by the people. Energy demand in India is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4. whereas the rural population still largely depends on fuel wood for basic energy needs. In most parts of rural landscapes. Since the climate is changing. On one hand rapid economic development and its escalating demand for fossil fuels is creating the need for .8% over the next 20 years. Most of the energy requirements are currently being satisfied by fossil fuels. choice of crops and varieties are highly dependent on the Climate. Problems related to scarcity and diversity within natural systems. Due to these changes. AERF has been working with communities to generate such awareness about climate change by designing and testing new livelihood options in response to changing climatic conditions.

species and genetic material. The Government of India targets 44 million hectares for the plantation of Jatropha curcas for bio-diesel production. Total fuel wood consumption of Maharashtra state is estimated to vary from 15650075 MT to 30942076 MT in 2000. the plantations of which will possibility covert a diversity of habitats into monoculture.alternatives. Bio-fuels present the best ever opportunity to promote sustainable natural resource management and conservation of underutilized and valuable biodiversity. Some challenges India faces as a growing economy are described here. AERF’s program deals with inter-relationships between biodiversity and energy and addresses some key issues and questions through research and community based initiatives. biomass has a great potential for ensuring sustainable growth. Alternatives such as bio-fuel. their environmental impact has never been assessed. in the form of ecosystems. The existing pattern of energy use and demand is now a global concern not only due to its impact on climate but also due to their exhaustive nature. On the other hand. There may be differences of opinion about the rate of loss. One of the major reasons for dwindling forest cover is the increasing demand for fuel wood (NAEB 1997). Therefore it is utmost important to acknowledges for business and society in general to share responsibility for the current deteriorating situation as well as for solutions to improve it. Biodiversity is a central issue to be considered in the production. distribution and consumption of energy – now and in the future. rural populations are still dependant on fire wood as a basic energy source. Businesses can play a positive role in biodiversity conservation The good news is that there is a strong business case for integrating biodiversity considerations . there is a growing need to address energy demands from alternatives. Many villages in India still don’t have access to electricity Numerous wind farms have been set up in India however. Their livelihoods depend on our planet’s biodiversity. hand on the other biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate. but there is no doubt that ecosystems. On one hand. solar. wind. Renewable energy is therefore creating a lot of excitement in terms of meeting energy demands and reducing environmental impact. There are more than six billion people and the world is heading for eight or nine billion by 2050. species and genes are being lost or damaged faster than ever before. This has a massive impact on the nation’s forests and biological diversity. Some of our on-going initiatives include: Biodiversity is the life support system for our planet. This clash has fuelled many debates on the ecological sustainability of renewable energy alternatives. However. Jatropha curcas is an exotic and poisonous shrub. Such a loss undermines the natural richness of our planet and threatens our future sustainability. these alternatives have a huge impact on biodiversity which is a cause of concern for conservation biologists.

businesses need to generate profits. and forest fragmentation continues. to date. . Business is all about survival. But today. many businesses have recognized that long-term sustainable development requires good environmental performance and good social performance as well. There is no magic wand to prevent such loss. and about the loss of forest biodiversity. it is difficult to quantify rates. Constantly increasing human populations with greater consumerism means that we have to expect further loss of forest cover and biodiversity. Thus a large forest area is still essential to maintain biodiversity values. but have been difficult to show in mainland as opposed to island situations.g. given good land stewardship relatively little forest land for biodiversity is necessary (e. and to choose what areas should be converted in the most efficient manner. Many tropical countries have policies which actively promote such forest clearing. Both forest loss.. But such PA sites will not maintain these biodiversity components if the surrounding land-use cover does not permit the normal functioning of a forest ecosystem. The total amount of natural forest cover required to capture significant biodiversity areas (i." What is not said is how much is necessary for agriculture and how much for biodiversity! Norton-Griffiths and Southey (1995) in a provocative paper on biodiversity conservation in Kenya suggest that. sites with a high proportion of the forest biota) is probably relatively small. but larger than the present forest Protected Area Network.e. What is of concern is that this loss is unplanned.into core management systems. and further loss of genetic diversity. and that it is in national interests to develop productive agricultural land. including biomass. Modern parlance says "many species are committed to extinction". and forest degradation within still existing forest cover. The World Bank (1994) in their Africa Forest Strategy state that: "Some conversion of forest land to agricultural usages is unavoidable and necessary for socio-economic development .. using principles of complementarity.). etc. and to quantify the significance of these losses. not enough companies have done so. The debate focuses on both the loss of resource-rich forest. should be a priority for conservation planners. In order to survive. Working to choose what areas should remain forested. lead to a reduction in forest values.. However the number of species under threat of extinction is high. focus on centres of endemism. Whilst we can expect to see further species extinctions. ecological processes and biodiversity. Such biodiversity losses are predicted from biogeographic theory. The bad news is that. leading to further reduction in populations above critical viability levels. Conclusion "Recent global and national information sources show significant and still increasing loss of natural forest cover in most tropical regions.

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CONTENTS : 1. About the Topic 3. Conclusion 4. References . INTRODUCTION 2.