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Dr. B.


What does Bio mean?

Bio =

What does Diversity mean?

Diversity = Variety

The term BIODIVERSITY was first coined by the entomologist E.O. Wilson in 1986. Biodiversity is the heritage of million of years of evolution. Diversity is a basic property of life. The striking feature of Earth is the existence of Life and the striking feature of Life is its Diversity.

Biodiversity allowed the advent of modern civilizations, but

Plant and animal domestication often involves a reduction in biodiversity through artificial selection Industrialization and modern technology provide humankind with increasing control over, and independence from, nature

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity includes diversity within species, between species and among ecosystems.

Significance of biodiversity
Biodiversity is the sum of life on earth and includes genetic, species and functional diversity. The status and trends in biodiversity reflect the health of the ecosystems that support and enrich human life.


Variety of living things, number of kinds Ecological diversity

different habitats, niches, species interactions

Species diversity

different kinds of organisms, relationships among species different genes & combinations of genes

Genetic diversity

What is biodiversity?
The spectrum of life on earth, in terms of variation in genes, populations, species, ecosystems, interactions among them.

Biological Diversity
Genetic diversity the genetic variation among individuals in a species Species diversity the number of different species in a given area Ecosystem (Habitat) diversity the variety of interactions among organisms in a community (or the variety of ecosystems on Earth)

How many different species are there?

The number of species identified and named is more than 1.7 million, including:

950,00 species of insects 270,000 species of plants 19,000 species of fish 10,500 species of reptiles and amphibians 9,000 species of birds 4,000 species of mammals

The rest includes mollusks, worms, spiders, fungi, algae, and microorganisms.

Endangered and Extinct Species

Extinction, the elimination of a species from Earth, occurs when the last individual of a particular species dies.

Extinction is a natural process 99.95% of all the species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct today.

However, human activities can speed the process extinctions today are occurring at 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural rate.

Endangered and Extinct Species

Endangered species are in imminent danger of extinction throughout all or part of their range.

Characteristics of Endangered Species


species have one or more of these characteristics that make them vulnerable to extinction:
limited natural range low reproductive success specialized feeding requirements large territory requirement


Over-hunting unregulated hunting Poaching illegal hunting Over-fishing harvesting faster than the stocks can replace themselves Over-collecting collecting live organisms for zoos, pet stores, research etc.



Aesthetic value

Biodiversity Value

Productive value

Ethical value

Social value

Values of biodiversity

Values of biodiversity

Ecological values

Economic values

Cultural values

Value of Biodiversity
1. Market values 2. Non-market values 3. Ecosystems services Measured in terms of ecosystems function Focus on biologically mediated flows of energy and materials

Biodiversity Value : Ecological values

All living creatures are supported by the interactions among organisms and ecosystems. Loss of biodiversity makes ecosystems less stable, more vulnerable to extreme events, and weakens its natural cycles.

Economic values
: A biologically diverse natural environment provides humans with the necessities of life and forms the basis for the economy. Every thing we buy and sell originates from the natural world.

Cultural values
Most people feel connected to nature, often for reasons hard to explain. Some feel a strong spiritual bond that may be rooted in our common biological ancestory. Others are inspired by its beauty. Human cultures around the world profoundly reflect our visceral attachment to the natural world. Thus cultural diversity is linked to Earths biodiversity.

Preserving Earths Biological Diversity

Ex-situ Conservation

Ex-situ conservation means off-site conservation. The species of plants and animals to be protected are removed from the natural habitats and are placed in the safer areas under the control of man. Botanical gardens, zoos and the arboreta are the traditional methods of ex-situ conservation. Germ plasm banks or Seed banks (also Gene banks) are some other methods of ex-situ conservation.

In-situ Conservation
In-situ conservation means on-site conservation i.e. protection of species within the natural habitat of the species of animals and plants. It includes protection in the wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and biosphere reserves etc. that have been formed to protect threatened and even rare species.

In-situ Conservation
In India we have 608 protected areas. National Parks: 95 Biosphere Reserves: 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries: 500 In India, there are four internationally recognized Biosphere Reserves: Nilgiri, Gulf of Mannar, Sunderbans and Nanda Devi (Man and Biosphere Programme of UNESCO). In Tamil nadu we have: National parks: 5 Wild life sancturies: 20 Biosphere reserves: 2

Biodiversity Hotspot Zones

British ecologist Norman Myers gave the concept of biodiversity hotspots in 1988. There are 25 hotspots on a global level. Out of the 25 hotspots, 11 have lost at least 90% of their natural vegetation. The TWO Indian hotspots viz. the eastern Himalayas and the western Ghats are rich in flora, reptiles amphibians butter flies and some mammals.

Indo-Burma hotspot region

This region extends from North-east India to Burma and has a rich treasure of biological resources. The region has a remarkable diversity of fresh water turtles and bird species (over 1300 species). A number of dipterocarps, orchids and ginger 11 species are present in this region.

The Himalayan Hotspot

The Himalayan Hotspot has over 10,000 plant species of which 31.6 5 are endemic. These include pines, firs, spruces, rhododendrons and variety of orchids, mosses and ferns. A number of birds and mammals including vultures, tigers, elephants, rhinos and wild water buffaloes exist in the Himalayas.

Western Ghats and Sri Lanka

Western Ghats and Sri Lanka is one of the richest biodiversity areas with a high rate (52%) of endemism of plants species. A number of unique and rare plants and ferns are present in this hotspot.