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Biodiversity and its Conservation

• Biological diversity’ or biodiversity is that part
of nature which includes the differences in
genes among the individuals of a species, the
variety and richness of all the plant and
animal species at different scales in space,
locally, in a region, in the country and the
world, and various types of ecosystems, both
terrestrial and aquatic, within a defined area.
Types of Biodiversity
• Genetic Diversity
• Species Diversity
• Eco System Divesity
• Landscape Diversity
Genetic Diversity
• Genetic diversity is the total number of genetic
characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species.
• It is distinguished from genetic variability, which
describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to
• Genetic diversity serves as a way for populations to
adapt to changing environments.
• Ex: Rice varieties -All rice varieties belong to the
species "oryzasativa". However there are thousands of
rice varieties that show variation at the genetic level in
the form of different size, shape, colour and nutrient
Species Diversity
• Species diversity refers to the measure of
diversity in an ecological community.
• Species diversity takes into consideration
species richness, which is the total number of
different species in a community.
• EX:-
• Plant species: Apple, Mango, Wheat, Grapes, Rice etc
• Animal species: Lion, Tiger, Elephant,Deer etc
Eco System Diversity
• A set of biotic components (plants, animals and
microorganisms) and abiotic components (soil, air,
water, etc) interacting with each other is known as an
ecosystem. The diversity at an ecological level or
habitat level is known as ecosystem diversity.
• Ex: River ecosystem Rivers include fish, aquatic insects,
mussels and a variety of plants that have adapted.
Ecosystem diversity is the aggregate of different
environmental types in a region.
• NOTE:- It explains the interaction between living
organisms and physical environment in an ecosystem.
Landscape Diversity
• It refers to the placement, size and
distribution of various ecosystems and their
interactions across a given land surface.

• The cold mountainous snow covered Trans Himalayan region of Ladakh.

• The Himalayan ranges and valleys of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh,
Uttarakhand, Assam and other North Eastern States.
• The Terai, the lowland where the Himalayan rivers flow into the plains.
• The Gangetic and Bhramaputra plains.
• The Thar Desert of Rajasthan.
• The semi arid grassland region of the Deccan plateau Gujarat,
Maharashtra, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
• The Northeast States of India,
• The Western Ghats in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.
• The Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
• The long western and eastern coastal belt with sandy beaches, forests and
• Environmental services from species and eco- systems are essential at
global, regional and local levels. Production of oxygen, reducing carbon
dioxide, maintaining the water cycle, protect- ing soil are important
• Forests are the main mechanism for the conversion of carbon dioxide into
carbon and oxygen
• Biological diversity is also essential for preserving ecological processes,
such as fixing and recycling of nutrients, soil formation, circulation and
cleansing of air and water, global life support (plants absorb CO2, give out
O2), maintaining the water balance within ecosystems, watershed
protection, maintaining stream and river flows throughout the year,
erosion control and local flood reduction.
• The diversity of living organisms which is present in the wilderness, as well
as in our crops and live- stock, plays a major role in human ‘development’.
The preservation of ‘biodiversity’ is therefore integral to any strategy that
aims at improving the quality of human life.
• Consumptive value
• Productive value
• Social value
• Ethical value
• Aesthetic value
• Option value
• Ecosystem Service Value
Consumptive Use value

• The direct utilisation of timber, food,

fuelwood, fodder by local communities.
• Consumptive Use Value refers to non-market
value of resources such as firewood, game
meat, etc. Such resources are consumed
directly, without passing through a market.
Productive Use Value
• Marketable goods.
• Productive Use Value refers to the commercial
value of products that are commercially
harvested for exchange in formal markets,
such as game, meat, timber, fish, ivory,
medicinal plants.
• They are included in national income accounts
like the GNP.
Social Value
• These are the values associated with the social life,
customs, religion and psycho-spiritual aspects of the
• Many of the plants are considered holy and sacred in our
country like Tulsi (holy basil), Peepal, Mango, Lotus, Bael
etc. The leaves, fruits or flowers of these plants are used in
• Thus social life, songs, dances and customs are closely
woven around the wildlife. Many animals like cow, snake,
bull, peacock, owl etc. also have significant place in our
psycho-spiritual arena and thus hold special importance.
• Thus, biodiversity has distinct social value, attached with
different societies.
Ethical value

• It is also sometimes known as existence value. It involves

ethical issues like “all life must be preserved”. It is based on
the concept of “Live and Let Live”. If we want our human
race to survive, then we must protect all biodiversity,
because biodiversity is valuable.
• The ethical value means that we may or may not use a
species, but knowing the very fact that this species exists in
nature gives us pleasure. We all feel sorry when we learn
that “passenger pigeon’ or “dodo” is no more on this earth.
We are not deriving anything direct from kangaroo, zebra
or giraffe, but we all strongly feel that these species should
exist in nature.
• This means, there is an ethical value or existence value
attached to each species.
Aesthetic Value
• Great aesthetic value is attached to biodiversity. No
one of us would like to visit vast stretches of barren
lands with no signs of visible life. People from far and
wide spend a lot of time and money to visit wilderness
area where they can enjoy the aesthetic value of
biodiversity and this type of tourism is now known as
• The “willingness to pay” concept of such eco- tourism
gives us even a monetary benefit for aesthetic value of
biodiversity. Eco-tourism is estimated to generate 12
billion dollars of revenue annually that roughly gives
the aesthetic value of biodiversity.
Option Value
• These values include the potentials of biodiversity that are
presently unknown and need to be explored. There is a possibility
that we may have some potential cure of AIDS or cancer existing
within the depths of marine ecosystem, or a tropical rainforests.
Thus option value is the value of knowing that there are biological
resources existing on this biosphere that may one day prove to be
an effective option for something important in the future. Thus, the
option value of biodiversity suggests that any species may prove to
be a miracle species some day.
• The biodiversity is like precious gifts of nature presented to us. We
should not commit the folly of losing these gifts even before
unwrapping them.
• The option value also includes the values, in term of the option to
visit areas where a variety of flora and fauna, or specifically some
endemic, rare or endangered species exist.
Ecosystem Service Value
• Recently, a non-consumptive use value related to
self maintenance of the ecosystem and various
important ecosystem services has been
• It refers to the services provided by ecosystems
like prevention of soil erosion, prevention of
floods, maintenance of soil fertility, cycling of
nutrients, fixation of nitrogen, cycling of water,
their role as carbon sinks, pollutant absorption
and reduction of the threat of global warming

Percentage of different Biota in India

• India is 10th among the plant rich countries of
the world, fourth among the Asian countries,
eleventh according to the number of endemic
species of higher vertebrates (amphibia, birds
and mammals), and tenth in the world as far
as richness in mammals is concerned.
• Out of the 10 ‘Hot spots’ identified in the
world, India has four. These are Eastern
Himalaya, North East India, Western Ghats
and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Regional or Local Biodiversity
• Based on spatial distribution, Biodiversity at
regional level is better understood by categorizing
species richness into 4 types:
– Point Richness: Refers to the number of species that
can be found at a single point in a given space.
– Alpha (α-) Richness: Number of species found in a
small homogeneous area.
– Beta Richness (β-) : Refers to the rate of change in
species composition across different habitat.
– Gamma Richness (γ-) : Refers to the rate of change
across large landscape gradients.
Evolution and the Genesis of Biodiversity
• The origins of life on earth some three and a half billion
years ago are obscure.

• Life was initiated as a product of organic reactions in the

Earth’s primordial seas.

• Once life took hold on the planet, it began gradually to


• Unicellular unspecialized forms gradually evolved into

complex multi-cellular plants and animals.

• Evolution is related to the ability of living organisms to

adapt to changes in their environment.
Evolution and Biodiversity
• Abiotic changes in nature such as climatic and atmospheric
upheavals, repeated glaciations, continental drift and the
formation of geographical barriers, segregated different
communities of plants and animals and gradually lead to
the formation of new species over millions of years.

• Their adaptability to gradual changes in their habitat, and

interactions with newly formed species produce groups of
inter linked organisms that continue to evolve together.

• Some species become extinct in the process.

• Thus when man came on the scene some 2 million years

ago, the earth was more rich in species than ever before.
The earth is loosing species more rapidly than ever before.
Biodiversity Hotspots
• Definition : A biodiversity hotspot is a bio-geographic
region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is
under threat from humans.

• A hotspot is an area which faces serious threat from

human activities and supports a unique biodiversity
(endemic, threatened, rare species) with
representatives of evolutionary of speciation and

• The concept of biodiversity was given by Norman

Myers (1988)
Hotspots in India
• India has two major hotspots
– The Western Ghats
• The Western Ghats are a chain of hills that run along
the western edge of peninsular India.
• They are also known as Sahyadri Mountains.
• They receive high rainfall. It run parallel to the west
coast of India and constitute more than 1600 km strip
of forests in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Hotspots in India
– The Eastern Himalayas
• The Eastern Himalayas is the region encompassing
Bhutan, northeastern India, and southern, central, and
eastern Nepal.
• The region is geologically young and shows high
altitudinal variation.
• Together, the Himalayan mountain system is the world’s
highest, and home to the world’s highest peaks, which
include Mount Everest and K2.
Hotspots in India
• India has two major hotspots
– The Western Ghats
• The Western Ghats are a chain of hills that run along
the western edge of peninsular India.
• They are also known as Sahyadri Mountains.
• They receive high rainfall. It run parallel to the west
coast of India and constitute more than 1600 km strip
of forests in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Threats to Biodiversity
• Increasing population pressure

• Over-exploitation of the biotic resources

• The major threats to biodiversity decline are

– land use changes
– Pollution
– changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations
– changes in the nitrogen cycle and acid rain
– climate alterations
– introduction of exotic species
Major causes and issues related to threats
to biodiversity
– Habitat destruction
– Resource mismanagement
– Poaching
– Man-wildlife Conflicts
– Global Warming
– Forest Fragmentation
– Introduction of exotic species
– Overgrazing
– Natural Calamities
Major causes and issues related to threats
to biodiversity
• Habitat destruction
– Man has begun to overuse or misuse most of these natural
ecosystems. Due to this ‘unsustainable’ resource-use, once
productive forests and grasslands have been turned into deserts
and wasteland have increased all over the world.

– Example : Mangroves have been cleared for fuelwood and

prawn farming, which has led to a decrease in the habitat
essential for breeding of marine fish.

– Example : Wetlands have been drained to increase agricultural


– Effect : These changes have grave economic implications in the

longer term.
Major causes and issues related to threats
to biodiversity
• Poaching
– Illegal trade of wildlife products by killing prohibited endangered animals.

– This is a big threat to wildlife.

– Skin and bones from tigers, ivory from elephants, horns from rhinos and the
perfume from the musk deer are extensively used abroad.

– Bears are killed for their gall bladders.

– Corals and shells are also collected for export or sold on the beaches of
Chennai and Kanyakumari.

– A variety of wild plants with real or at times dubious medicinal value are being
over harvested.

– The commonly collected plants include Rauvolfia, Nuxvomica, Dhatura, etc.

Collection of garden plants includes orchids, ferns and moss.
Major causes and issues related to threats
to biodiversity
• Man-Wildlife Conflicts
– When wildlife starts causing immense damage and danger to
– Several examples of elephants, tigers and other animals killing
humans have been recorded.

• Causes of Man-Wildlife conflicts

– Dwindling Habitats
– Man-eating tendency
– Scarcity of food
– Electric wiring
– Lack of corridors
– Inadequate Compensation
Endangered and Endemic Species of India
• The population has the potential to extend forward in time, but various
factors may prevent the perpetuation of the species.

• There are several species which are under threat by human activity.

• International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

(IUCN) categorized these species as vulnerable, rare, threatened and
endangered species.

• Several plant and animal species in the country are now found in only one
or a few protected areas.

• Among the important endangered animals are charismatic species such as

the tiger, the elephant, the rhino, etc.

• The less well-known major mammals restricted to a single area include the
Indian wild ass, the Hangul or Kashmir stag, the Golden langur, the pygmy
hog and a host of others.
Endangered and Endemic Species of India
• Endangered Birds : Siberian crane, the Great Indian
Bustard, the Florican, vultures are highly threatened.

• Equally threatened are several species of reptiles,

amphibia and invertebrates.

• Endangered plants : Major trees, shrubs, climbers and

thousands of small herbs are extremely endangered.

• Several orchids are also under threat. Many plants are

threatened due to overharvesting as ingredients in
medicinal products.
Conservations of Biodiversity

• Definition of Conservation : Conservation is the

protection, preservation, management, or
restoration of wildlife and natural resources such as
forests and water.

• Types of Conservation
– In-Situ Conservation
– Ex-Situ Conservation
Conservations of Biodiversity
In-situ Conservation
• In-situ Conservation
– In-situ conservation is on site conservation or the conservation
of genetic resources in natural populations of plant or animal
species, such as forest genetic resources in natural populations
of tree species.

– It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal

species in its natural habitat, either by protecting or cleaning up
the habitat itself, or by defending the species from predators.

• In-situ Conversation in India

– National parks (90)
– Wildlife sanctuaries (500)
– Biosphere reserves (15)
Advantages of in-situ conservation
1. The flora and fauna live in natural habitats without
human interference.

2. The life cycles of the organisms and their evolution

progresses in a natural way.

3. In-situ conservation provides the required green cover

and its associated benefits to our environment.

4. It is less expensive and easy to manage.

5. The interests of the indigenous people are also

Ex-Situ Conservation
• Ex-situ conservation
– It is the preservation of components of biological diversity
outside their natural habitats. This involves conservation of
genetic resources, as well as wild and cultivated or species,
and draws on a diverse body of techniques and facilities.

• Ex-situ conservation in India

– Botanical gardens, zoos, conservation strands and gene,
pollen seed, seedling, tissue culture and DNA banks.
Advantages of ex-situ conservation
1. It is useful for declining population of species.

2. Endangered animals on the verge of extinction are

successfully breeded.

3. Threatened species are breeded in captivity and then

released in the natural habitats.

4. Ex-situ centres offer the possibilities of observing wild

animals, which is otherwise not possible.

5. It is extremely useful for conducting research and

scientific work on different species.
Thank You!