Biodiversity in India-project

August 5, 2017 | Author: Varun Sawant | Category: Water Cycle, Biodiversity, Carbon Cycle, Jute, Water
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By-Nikita Mazgaonkar

Index Sr. No.


Page No.





Introduction to biodiversity



Importance of biodiversity



Economic value of Biodiversity



Ecological value of Biodiversity



Aesthetic value of Biodiversity



Religious value of Biodiversity



Loss in Biodiversity



Global warming



Extinction of species



Conflicts between humans & wildlife



Conservation of Biodiversity



IN-SITU conservation



EX-SITU conservation






BIODIVERSITY Much before the appearance of human beings in the biosphere millions of years ago many other species had evolved as a result of evolutionary processes. The variety of climatic and geographical conditions on the earth is the base to evolutionary process. Different living beings have structures, shapes, defence mechanisms, feeding habits and life cycles. Such variety is found in all forms of life: animal‘s plants fungi and even the unicellular organisms etc. This variety of range of life forms on the earth is termed as „biodiversity‟ or „biological diversity‟. In the other words biodiversity is made up of all living species, their genetic material and the ecosystems of which they are a part. These genes, species and ecosystems are the outcome of over 3,000 millions of years of evolution. LEVELS OF BIODIVERSITY Biodiversity is broadly divided into three levels: 1) Ecosystem diversity 2) Genetic diversity and 3) Species diversity ECOSYSTEM DIVERSITY:An ‗ecosystem‘ is set of life forms (plant s, animals and microorganisms) interacting with one another and with the non-living elements (air, soil, water, minerals etc.) of their environment. Ecosystem diversity refers to the variety of ecosystems found within a specific bio-geographical area.


GENETIC BIODIVERSITY:It is the diversity of the basic unit of hereditary information within a species, which are passed down the generations. Genetic diversity results in variations within species. It is this type of diversity that gives rise to several varieties of rice and wheat. Some variations are easy to see, for example size some taste or flavor can be perceived by senses; and some are invisible, such as susceptibility to disease.

SPECIES DIVERSITY:It is the diversity of the species on the earth ranging from the smallest plant on land to the mammoth blue whales in the ocean. Butterflies and moths are different species: Lions, tiger, wild dog, mushroom apples etc. are all different species. Species diversity of an ecosystem refers to the total number of different species present in the ecosystem such as a forest or a pond.


IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY Essential services provided by natural ecosystems: The natural ecosystems provide essential services to human beings, and diverse species occurring in these ecosystems contribute to these services. These services include the following: (i) Maintenance of gaseous composition of the atmosphere and thus preventing rapid changes in the mix of gases, which may destroy fauna and flora. (ii) Maintenance of soil ecosystems having rich biota, where the existing biodiversity contributes to fertility of soil thus supporting crops and forests. The fungal associations in mycorrhiza, particularly VAM, transfer essential nutrients into the roots of plants. Other microorganisms also fix nitrogen and transfer other nutrients to the soil. Many bacteria decompose organic matter and help in producing humus. (iii) Production of soil by weathering of rocks to which plants contribute in a significant manner. (iv) Disposal of wastes, through decomposition by microorganisms and making nutrients available for the growth of green plants. (v) Through vast biogeochemical cycles, cycling of nutrients resulting from decomposition, before they are reincorporated into living systems. (vi) Control of a large number of insects and other pests, which attack crops or domestic animals. This is made possible by the presence of numerous species of predacious and parasitic insects, who feed upon these pests. (vii) Help in effective pollination in some plant species - e.g. by honey bee, wild bees or other insects. (viii) Supply of food from fishes and other marine animals, in addition to many food crops. The ecosystem services including the above are provided by biodiversity at such a grand scale and in such an intricate manner, that there is no possible substitute for these services even with the advances in knowledge made in recent decades. The importance of biodiversity for human beings cannot be under estimated. The various medicines, foods, energy sources and industrial products used by humans have come from virtually every ecosystem and every corner of the earth. Humans have used plants and animals as medicines from the earliest times. Even today the tribal‘s in different parts of the world, who are cut off from the so-called modern world use plants and animals as medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 80% of the people in the developing countries rely on traditional medicine. In South East Asia 6500, China 5000 and India 2500 plant species are used as medicine. In India, Ayurveda, the science of medicine based on plants is in practice successfully followed from thousands of years and it is claimed that this system of therapy has some answers to diseases which Western medicine does not have. Animals and plants have contributed as medicine to humans for our well-being in a big way. For example, diademing, a chemical, derived from sea squirts, is active against a broad range of viruses ranging from colds & influenza to herpes and meningitis. Shark livers contain lipids that enhance human resistance to cancer. Blister beetle provides cantharides used to treat urinogenital disorders. Apart from these certain animals are used as models for research programs for which there are no or few alternatives, for example, Armadillo for the production of anti-leprosy vaccines, some species of snail and American bison for studying the defense mechanisms in cancer as they do not contract cancer.


Approximately 119 pure chemicals substances extracted from higher plants are used as medicines throughout the world. Over 40% of all United States prescriptions depend upon natural sources. Some of these drugs are classics, which have fundamental uses in modern medicines. Quinine an alkaloid from the bark of Cinchona tree isolated in 1820 even today has an effective agent against malaria. Caffeine (Tea) acts as a nervous system stimulant and Morphine (opium poppy) as an analgesic. In fact only 500 species of higher plants worldwide have been thoroughly studied for their potential as a source of new drugs and the majority of them are found in temperate zones, leaving the tropical forest scarcely explored. Regrettably, these reserves are the rapidly being lost forever with their forest habitats. Agriculture production has increased along with scientific development. Humans have been able to develop new strains of high yielding crops for feeding humankind. The new varieties, unfortunately, have been observed to provide good results by way of disease resistance and increase in output for a limited period, as observed in wheat, rice, soya bean, coffee etc. After which more new strains are required and this is only possible through genes from wild species. The contribution of biological diversity to industry cannot be ignored. Forest that stored solar energy millions of year ago provide us oil, coal and nature gas for industry. Natural fats and oils contribute to chemical manufacturing, cosmetics and adhesives, preservation, foods, beverages, lubricants, polishes and whole variety of medicines. Timber is the biggest wild contribution to industry with a world trade value of US$ two billion per year, with increasing domestication of trees and shrubs, the input of wild genes will be needed for maintaining and increasing adaptability and disease in tree plantations. With the exception of teak, all world trade in hard wood is derived from natural forests entirely maintained by the ecosystem services of biological diversity. The current contribution of biological diversity is to provide medicine, agriculture and industry in immense way. Many other properties in nature are yet to be discovered. Only ensuring the survival of raw material can provide full potential of biological diversity which is yet to be realized.


BIODIVERSITY FOR HUMAN SUSTAINANCE:The survival for human societies and cultures depends on biodiversity. Biodiversity meets the survival, livelihood and economic needs of human beings. Besides these certain indirect benefits are called as ‗ecological benefits‘ are obtained from biodiversity. These are described in the following section. This wonderful diversity and each of its components are of the highest respects and conservation in their own right way. Economic value of Biodiversity:People are dependent on biodiversity for meeting the basic needs of food and energy. Besides, a range of industries including pharmaceutical, agricultural, timber etc. are dependent on biodiversity for raw materials. Some of the economic uses of biodiversity are described below as: FOOD VALUE Approximately 80,000 edible plant species are being used at one time or another in human history of which at least 3,000 have been used somewhat consistently. About 150 species have been cultivated on a large scale. Of these, about 10 to 20 species provide 80-90% of world`s calorie intake. Apart from the above major edible plants, hundreds of other non cultivable plants are also used as food. For example: in Mulshi Taluka of PUNE district about 40 wild edible plants are still used. In times of drought or other crisis such biodiversity can provide at least some food, especially to remote settlements that the public distribution systems are unable to cover. In the ―BHIMASHANKAR WILDLIFE SCANTURY‖ in Maharashtra, dried unripe fruits of BOMBAX CEIBA {RED SILK COTTON SILK} are stored and eaten during food shortage; unripe and ripe fruits of JASMINIUM MALABARICIUM are also boiled, dried and stored as cereals for hard times. It appears that earlier each household would store 5-6kgs of this species for the period of shortages.  MEDICINES AND DRUGS,COSMETICS:Biodiversity provides ‗HEALTHY SECURITY‘ to humans, livestock and plants {bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers}. In the Western Ghats, about 2000 plants are being used for medicinal purposes. Across the country some 800 plants and a few hundred animals are being used for their medicinal value by the local communities. A large portion of allopathic {chemical} medicines have a plant origin. Nearly 25% of all the prescription drugs used in the developed world are based on the plants, including 21 indispensable mainstream drugs .e.g. ASPIRIN and QUININE. Ayurvedic medicines plants after primary processing have been exported from India for centuries. The volume of this trade has become much bigger these years now. Medical Tourism is emerging as high value economic sector, where therapies based on indigenous, Ayurveda another oriental medical systems provided. Plant species are used for medicinal purposes in two ways: a) as traditional medicines, singly or in formulations, such as those prepared and dispensed by traditional medical practitioners, which may or may not attract a market price; and


b) Commercial products, dispensed by prescription or over the counter sales, such as patented/licensed medical products of allopathic or traditional systems of medicine. Both these uses have economic value. For the lack of adequate and appropriate data, it is near impossible to evaluate the returns from the first category. The economic value of plant based drugs, therefore, largely rests on the second category uses. It is estimated that in the rich world, 25 per cent of all medical drugs are based on plants and their derivatives (Principe, 1991). In the poor world, this is closer to 75 per cent. The economic value of a particular species of plants in medicinal use depends upon a number of factors, among which the following are important: a) Certain plant species are used in a large number of formulations. The use of a particular species with reference to the number therapeutic effects it exerts or the number of formulations in which it is an ingredient, is expressed as the therapeutic index and frequency index, respectively. A higher index reflects a higher economic value attributable to a particular species. Such species are often referred to as the ‗elite species‘. For example Neem (Azadirachta indica) is indicated for use against 10 out of 18 symptoms in gastro-intestinal disorders (Sharon, 1994) and against eight out of 11 symptoms in dental care (Shubharani, 1995). Neem has several other medicinal and non-medicinal uses as well. Consequently, Neem is one of the elite species of Indian medicinal plants. b) Certain species are of great importance in the treatment of a particular disease as they happen to be the only (or one of very few) species with that therapeutic potential, as the alkaloids of Catharanthus roseus in the treatment of leukemia. The importance of the disease also is a factor. Such species attract high market rate. c) Some species have a narrow distribution and/or occur in small populations. Some may be difficult to cultivate. Such species also command a higher price. For example, Trichopus zeylanica, occurring in south India, Sri Lanka and the Malay Peninsula, is recently projected as the Indian equivalent of ginseng. This species now attracts a high market value. d) Certain species of medicinal plants like Rauvolfia serpentina and Saraca asoca have been over exploited and so now occur rather scarcely in nature. It is difficult to cultivate Rauvolfia serpentina on a large scale while Saraca asoca is rather easier to propagate. The market value of some species thus depends upon such criteria. e) There are synthetic substitutes for several originally plant derived products, as for example clove oil. If the synthetic substitute is cheaper to produce than the plant based product and/or if the natural products have no other uses, the economic value of the natural product falls. However, certain therapeutically active constituents produced by plants like digoxin and digitoxin have not been produced synthetically. Some like vincristine, vinblastin, opiates, etc., that have been synthesized have proven to be less efficient than the natural products. The economic value of a species of medicinal plants depends upon this situation as well.


f) The economic value of a particular species varies with time. An effective synthetic substitute, or the discovery of a better natural alternative or the disuse of the species/product over a period of time, may deplete the species of its market value. For example, till sulphonamides came into use, sandalwood oil was the most widely used effective antiseptic. Subsequently, sandalwood oil (Saantalum album) has fallen into disuse as an antiseptic. Its economic value should have come down but did not as sandalwood oil has other uses with higher economic returns. g) The costs involved in isolation and purification of an active principle involve several considerations. It requires about a tone of leaves of Catharanthus roseus to obtain one gram of the alkaloid vincristine, essentially needed to treat leukemia. Vincristine is one of the expensive plant products costing about US$ 24,000/g. Vinblastin, another alkaloid from the same species, used to treat Hodgkin disease, is present in quantity 1,000 more times than vincristine. One gram of vinblastin costs about US$ 6,800. It is now possible to convert vinblastin into vincristine through biotransformation. There is also a growing interest in the other alkaloids present in Catharanthus roseus. Thus, several factors govern the cost of the raw material and the final product of a medicinal plant, from time to time.



The potential of plants as sources of medicine is often taken in support of identification and preservation of the world‘s most species rich ecosystems. Such assessments are speculative and totally based on chance. Screening the vast vegetable world for potential sources of medicine and their use in the traditional way or through the application of biotechnology for a large scale industrial production of the active constituents or by chemical synthesis is a very uncertain and a long term proposition that involves heavy financial investment with no certainty of the economic returns. There is no guarantee that the future drugs will all be derived from plants.



Times have changed, but more than half of the world's population still relies entirely on plants for medicines, and plants supply the active ingredients of most traditional medical products. Plants have also served as the starting point for countless drugs on the market today. Researchers generally agree that natural products from plants and other organisms have been the most consistently successful source for ideas for new drugs, since nature is a master chemist. Drug discovery scientists often refer to these ideas as "leads," and chemicals that have desirable properties in lab tests are called lead compounds.

 FIBRES: Cotton, jute, flax, ramie, sisal, hemp, rattan, coconut coir, bamboo and other grasses are the sources of natural fibers. These are used in the both local economics and for industrial purposes, for making the ropes twines and cords, fabric, as building and packaging materials in sacks and gunny bags, as carpets-backing etc. A more recent use is the geo-textiles, which are the meshes or grids made up of fibers, used on the soil and earth in the constructions of roads, canals, dams and bunds, protection of the hilly areas from erosion and landslides. Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, family Tiliaceae.


Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose (major component of plant fiber) and lignin (major components of wood fiber). It is thus a lignocellulosic fiber that is partially a textile fiber and partially wood. It falls into the bast fiber category (fiber collected from bast or skin of the plant) along with knead, industrial hemp, flax (linen), ramie, etc. The industrial term for jute fiber is raw jute. The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 meters (3–12 feet) long. Hemp is the name of the soft, durable fiber that is cultivated from plants of the Cannabis genus, cultivated for industrial and commercial (non-drug) use. In modern times, industrial hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel, with modest commercial success. In the past three years, commercial success of hemp food products has grown considerably. Hemp is one of the fastest growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tones of dry matter per hectare per year, and one of the earliest domesticated plants known. For a crop, hemp is relatively environmentally friendly as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides. Bamboo fiber is a cellulose fiber extracted or fabricated from natural bamboo (and possibly other additives) and is made from (or in the case of material fabrication, is) the pulp of bamboo plants. It is usually not made from the fibers of the plant, but is a synthetic viscose made from bamboo cellulose. Bamboo clothing has become popular in some fashion circles. Bamboo has gained significant popularity as a "green" fiber. Manufacturers tout the fact that bamboo can be cultivated relatively quickly, can be used as a cash crop to develop impoverished regions of the third world, and is a natural fiber (as opposed to popular synthetics like polyester) whose cultivation results in a decrease in greenhouse gases. Still, significant questions have been raised concerning the environmental problems associated with the cultivation of land expressly for bamboo and the use of harsh chemicals to turn bamboo into usable fiber for clothing. Cotton is a soft, fluffy, staple fiber that grows in a form known as a boll around the seeds of the cotton plant, a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, India and Africa. The fiber most often is spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, which is the most widely, used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today.


 BIOFUELS: Most of the rural population of India depends on the firewood for fuel. Fuels like biogas, biodiesel, and ethanol are also becoming economically important. All these fuels come from bioresources. JATROPHA and KARANJ are two species of plant which are used to make bio-fuels. In India, scientists are screening different varieties of JATROPHA and KARANJ to identify naturally high-yielding varieties. Energy demand in India is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.8% over the next 20 years. Most of the energy requirements are currently being satisfied by fossil fuels, whereas the rural population still largely depends on fuel wood for basic energy needs. On one hand rapid economic development and its escalating demand for fossil fuels is creating the need for alternatives. On the other hand, rural populations are still dependant on fire wood as a basic energy source. 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. Renewable energy is therefore creating a lot of excitement in terms of meeting energy demands and reducing environmental impact. Alternatives such as bio-fuel, wind, solar, biomass has a great potential for ensuring sustainable growth. However, these alternatives have a huge impact on biodiversity which is a cause of concern for conservation biologists. On one hand, there is a growing need to address energy demands from alternatives, on the other biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate. This clash has fuelled many debates on the ecological sustainability of renewable energy alternatives. Some challenges India faces as a growing economy are described here. The Government of India targets 44 million hectares for the plantation of Jatropha curcas for biodiesel production. Jatropha curcas is an exotic and poisonous shrub, the plantations of which will possibility covert a diversity of habitats into monoculture. One of the major reasons for dwindling forest cover is the increasing demand for fuel wood (NAEB 1997). Total fuel wood consumption of Maharashtra state is estimated to vary from 15650075 MT to 30942076 MT in 2000. This has a massive impact on the nation‘s forests and biological diversity. Many villages in India still don‘t have access to electricity


Numerous wind farms have been set up in India however; their environmental impact has never been assessed. Bio-fuels present the best ever opportunity to promote sustainable natural resource management and conservation of underutilized and valuable biodiversity. Biodiversity is a central issue to be considered in the production, distribution and consumption of energy – now and in the future. AERF‘s program deals with inter-relationships between biodiversity and energy and addresses some key issues and questions through research and community based initiatives. Some of our on-going initiatives include: Decentralized Bio-diesel Resource centers. The renewable energy sources have come into focus due to environmental issues having global impacts such as climate change. In implementing some unique projects, AERF has added the dimension of biodiversity to the domain of renewable energy while addressing the energy issues of rural areas in Maharashtra. Decentralized biodiesel resource centers project supported under Global Village Energy Program (GVEP) focuses on the utilization of existing indigenous bio-diesel yielding tree species- Pongamia pinnata and Madhuca indica for satisfying the village energy needs. AERF has established two decentralized bio-diesel resource centers in Alibaug and Mhasala Blocks of Raigad district, Maharashtra.


 BUILDING MATERIALS:Housing and building materials such as bamboo, grasses, hardy plants, palm leaves, timber come from local ecosystems. Large scale cultivation of bamboo and timber species is done several countries. Most of the world`s timber production still comes from forests. Wood is a product of trees, and sometimes other fibrous plants, used for construction purposes when cut or pressed into lumber and timber, such as boards, planks and similar materials. It is a generic building material and is used in building just about any type of structure in most climates. Wood can be very flexible under loads, keeping strength while bending, and is incredibly strong when compressed vertically. There are many differing qualities to the different types of wood, even among same tree species. This means specific species are better for various uses than others. And growing conditions are important for deciding quality. Historically, wood for building large structures was used in its unprocessed form as logs. The trees were just cut to the needed length, sometimes stripped of bark, and then notched or lashed into place. In earlier times, and in some parts of the world, many country homes or communities had a personal wood-lot from which the family or community would grow and harvest trees to build with. These lots would be tended to like a garden. With the invention of mechanizing saws came the mass production of dimensional lumber. This made buildings quicker to put up and more uniform. Thus the modern western style home was made. Rock structures have existed for as long as history can recall. It is the longest lasting building material available, and is usually readily available. There are many types of rock through out the world all with differing attributes that make them better or worse for particular uses. Rock is a very dense material so it gives a lot of protection too, its main draw-back as a material is its weight and awkwardness. Its energy density is also considered a big draw-back, as stone is hard to keep warm without using large amounts of heating resources. Dry-stone walls have been built for as long as humans have put one stone on top of another. Eventually different forms of mortar were used to hold the stones together, cement being the most commonplace now. The amount of each material used leads to different styles of buildings. The deciding factor is usually connected with the quality of the soil being used. Larger amounts of clay usually mean using the cob/adobe style, while low clay soil is usually associated with sod building. The other main ingredients include more or less sand/gravel and straw/grasses. Rammed earth is both an old and newer take on creating walls, once made by compacting clay soils between planks by hand; now forms and mechanical pneumatic compressors are used. Soil and especially clay is good thermal mass; it is very good at keeping temperatures at a constant level. Homes built with earth tend to be naturally cool in the summer heat and warm in cold weather. Clay holds heat or cold, releasing it over a period of time like stone. Earthen walls


change temperature slowly, so artificially rising or lowering the temperature can use more resources than in say a wood built house, but the heat/coolness stays longer.


 TOURISM:Nature based on tourism is increasing day by day world over. It has become a major industry supporting lakhs of people all over the India. The function of a natural area near or within a dense human settlement is clearly seen in the case of Gandhi National Park on the outskirts of the city of Mumbai, which receives a colossal traffic about 12 lakhs of tourists every year. Nature-based tourism is growing as an economic sector. Tourism is the largest service industry in India, with a contribution of 6.23% to the national GDP and 8.78% of the total employment in India. India witness‘s more than 5 million annual foreign tourist arrivals and 562 million domestic tourism visits. The tourism industry in India generated about US$100 billion in 2008 and that is expected to increase to US$275.5 billion by 2018 at a 9.4% annual growth rate. The Ministry of Tourism is the nodal agency for the development and promotion of tourism in India and maintains the "Incredible India" campaign. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, India will be a tourism hotspot from 2009-2018 having the highest 10-year growth potential. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2007 ranked tourism in India 6th in terms of price competitiveness and 39th in terms of safety and security. Despite short- and medium-term setbacks, such as shortage of hotel rooms, tourism revenues are expected to surge by 42% from 2007 to 2017.[7] India has a growing medical tourism sector. The 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi are expected to significantly boost tourism in India.

Maharashtra is the most visited state by foreign tourists, with more than 2 million foreign tourists arrivals annually. Maharashtra boasts of a large number of popular and revered religious venues that are heavily frequented by locals as well as out-of-state visitors. Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan city in India, and a great place to experience modern India. Mumbai is famous for Bollywood, the world's largest film industry. In addition, Mumbai is famous for its clubs, shopping, and upscale gastronomy. The city is known for its architecture, from the ancient Ajanta Caves, to the Islamic Haji Ali Mosque, to the colonial architecture of Bombay High Court and Victoria Terminus. Maharashtra also has numerous adventure tourism destinations, including paragliding, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Maharashtra also has several pristine national parks and reserves. The Bibi Ka Maqbara at Aurangabad, the Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur, the city of Pune the seat of the Maratha Empire, the fantastic Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Delhi is the capital city of India. A fine blend of old and new, ancient and modern, Delhi is a melting pot of cultures, religions. Delhi has been the capital of numerous empires that ruled India, making it rich in history. The rulers left behind their trademark architectural styles. Delhi currently has many renowned historic monuments and landmarks such as the Tughlaqabad fort, Qutub Minar, Purana Quila, Lodhi Gardens, Jama Masjid, Humayun's tomb, Red Fort, and


Safdarjung's Tomb. Modern monuments include Jantar Mantar, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Laxminarayan Temple, Lotus temple and Akshardham Temple. New Delhi is famous for its British colonial architecture, wide roads, and tree-lined boulevards. Delhi is home to numerous political landmarks, national museums, Islamic shrines, Hindu temples, green parks.


ECOLOGICAL VALUE OF BIODIVERSITY: INTERDEPENDENCE OF SPECIES: Species have evolved to fill particular niches {roles in ecosystems} or habitats. Many species depend on each other in intricate ways for survival, such as the food chains and food webs. Besides there are other ecological roles, such as pollination and seed dispersal. Living organisms and the relationships of symbiosis, predation, food chains and food webs are aspects of biodiversity. These are important to maintain and evolve biodiversity itself. The term ecosystem refers to the combined physical and biological components of an environment. An ecosystem is generally an area within the natural environment in which physical (abiotic) factors of the environment, such as rocks and soil, function together along with interdependent (biotic) organisms, such as plants and animals, within the same habitat. Ecosystems can be permanent or temporary. Ecosystems usually form a number of food webs.


 BIODIVERSITY AS A PART OF NATURAL CYCLES:Biodiversity provides essential ‗ecosystem benefits‘. These are the methods by which biodiversity creates conditions of the earth that supports human survival. These include various cycles occurring in nature. The hydrological cycle or rather the natural water cycle and the geochemical cycles and climatic regulation. For e.g. microbes convert the dead organic material made up of complex compounds of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen etc. into it`s constituent elements or the simpler organic compounds. In this way biodiversity is influenced by the soil formation, reduction of soil salinity, minerals and nutrient cycling etc. Vegetation cover helps the air purification by absorbing atmospheric gases and helps in the stabilization of the climate. Some of the cycles occurring in nature are as follows: • THE WATER CYCLE • THE GEOCHEMICAL CYCLE • THE CARBON CYCLE • THE NITROGEN CYCLE • THE NUTRIENT CYCLE • THE CLIMATIC REGULATORY CYCLE The following are the major three cycles occurring on earth i.e. the hydrological or the water cycle, the geochemical cycle and the carbon cycle. THE WATER CYCLE: The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Water evaporates as vapor into the air. Ice and snow can sublimate directly into water vapor. Evapo transpiration is water transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere where cooler temperatures cause it to condense into clouds. Air currents move clouds around the globe, cloud particles collide, grow, and fall out of the sky as precipitation. Some precipitation falls as snow and can accumulate as ice caps and glaciers, which can store frozen water for thousands of years. Snow packs can thaw and melt, and the melted water flows over land as snowmelt. Most water falls back into the oceans or onto land as rain, where the water flows over the ground as surface runoff. A portion of runoff enters rivers in valleys in the landscape, with stream flow moving water towards the oceans. Runoff and groundwater are stored as freshwater in lakes. Not all runoff flows into rivers, much of it soaks into the ground as infiltration. Some water infiltrates deep into the ground and replenishes aquifers, which store freshwater for long periods of time. Some infiltration stays close to the land surface and can seep back into surface-water bodies (and the ocean) as groundwater discharge.


Some groundwater finds openings in the land surface and comes out as freshwater springs. Over time, the water returns to the ocean, where our water cycle started.


All chemical elements occurring in organisms are part of biogeochemical cycles. In addition to being a part of living organisms, these chemical elements also cycle through abiotic factors of ecosystems such as water (hydrosphere), land (lithosphere), and the air (atmosphere). The living factors of the planet can be referred to collectively as the biosphere. All the nutrients—such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur—used in ecosystems by living organisms operate on a closed system; therefore, these chemicals are recycled instead of being lost and replenished constantly such as in an open system.[2] The energy of an ecosystem occurs on an open system; the sun constantly gives the planet energy in the form of light while it is eventually used and lost in the form of heat throughout the tropic levels of a food web. Carbon is used to make carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, the major sources of food energy. These compounds are oxidized to release carbon dioxide, which can be captured by plants to make organic compounds. The chemical reaction is powered by the light energy of the sun. It is possible for an ecosystem to obtain energy without sunlight. Carbon must be combined with hydrogen and oxygen in order to be utilized as an energy source, and this process depends on sunlight. Ecosystems in the deep sea, where no sunlight can penetrate, can use sulfur. Hydrogen sulfide near hydrothermal vents can be utilized by organisms such as the giant tube worm. In the sulfur


cycle, sulfur can be forever recycled as a source of energy. Energy can be released through the oxidation and reduction of sulfur compounds (e.g., oxidizing elemental sulfur to sulfite and then to sulfate). Although the Earth constantly receives more light from the sun, it has only the chemicals from which it originally formed. The only way for Earth to obtain more nutrients is from occasional meteorites from outer space. Because chemicals operate on a closed system and cannot be lost and replenished the way energy can, these chemicals must be recycled throughout all of Earth‘s processes that use those chemicals or elements. These cycles include the living biosphere and the nonliving lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. THE CARBON CYCLE:The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. It is one of the most important cycles of the earth and allows for the most abundant element to be recycled and reused throughout the biosphere and all of its organisms. carbon cycle is usually thought of as five major reservoirs of carbon interconnected by pathways of exchange. These reservoirs are:     

The atmosphere The terrestrial biosphere, which is usually defined to include fresh water systems and non-living organic material, such as soil carbon. The oceans, including dissolved inorganic carbon and living and non-living marine biota, The sediments including fossil fuels. The earth's interior, carbon from the earth‘s mantle and crust is released to the atmosphere and hydrosphere by volcanoes and geothermal systems.

The annual movements of carbon, the carbon exchanges between reservoirs, occur because of various chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes. The ocean contains the largest active pool of carbon near the surface of the Earth, but the deep ocean part of this pool does not rapidly exchange with the atmosphere. The global carbon budget is the balance of the exchanges (incomes and losses) of carbon between the carbon reservoirs or between one specific loops (e.g., atmosphere ↔ biosphere) of the carbon cycle. An examination of the carbon budget of a pool or reservoir can provide information about whether the pool or reservoir is functioning as a source or sink for carbon dioxide.


AESTHETIC VALUE OF BIODIVERSITY:Aesthetic value of biodiversity is appropriately described in the following verse written for children. “RANGARANGULYA SANASANULYA GAVATAPHULA RE GAVATAPHULA; AASA KASA RE MALA LAVALA SANG TUJHA RE TUJHA LALLA”! This verse has given inspiration to a number of folk arts and folk songs, stories and other literature which shows its impact on the minds of the people. There is a great aesthetic value which is attached to biodiversity. Natural landscapes at undisturbed places are a delight to watch and also provide opportunities for recreational activities like bird watching, photography etc. It promotes eco-tourism which further generates revenue by designing of zoological, botanical gardens, national parks, wild life conservation etc.

Many people derive value from biodiversity through leisure activities such as hiking, bird watching or natural history study. Biodiversity has inspired musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and other artists. Many cultural groups view themselves as an integral part of the natural world and show respect for other living organisms. Popular activities such as gardening, caring for aquariums and collecting butterflies are all strongly dependent on biodiversity. The number of species involved in such pursuits is in the tens of thousands, though the great majority does not enter mainstream commercialism. A family outing to the botanical garden or zoo is as much an aesthetic or cultural experience as it is an educational one. Philosophically it could be argued that biodiversity has intrinsic aesthetic and spiritual value to mankind ―in and of itself ―.


RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL & CULTURAL VALUES OF BIODIVERSITY:Biodiversity, particularly in India, is important for religious, spiritual and other cultural uses. Many plants and animals even ecosystems are considered sacred. Plants like tulsi, Ficus, peepal etc.are worshiped and is considered holy. In Indian society great cultural value is given to forest and as such tiger, peacock and lotus are named as the national animal, bird and flower respectively. Sacred Groves form important repositories of forest biodiversity and provide refuge to many plant and animal species of conservation significance. India has well over 13,000documentedsacredgroves. 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. 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. Sacred value was attached to patches of forests ponds, rivers and landscapes. These were believed to be the abode of gods and ancestors, and utilized only for worship and related rituals.


Here are some religious festivals: Festivals

Month of festival

Species associated

Sheela Asthami


Azadirachta indica

Neem Saptami


Azadirachta indica

Vat Savitri


Ficus bengalensis

Bilva Mangal

May – June

Aegle marmelos

Sawan ke Somvaar Kadii Vrat

Mid July August September

Somvari Amavasya

15 of all months

Mid Bael Musa paradisica Ficus religiosa

Every festival in India is virtually associated with a plant species, animals and foods derived from different species. This is one of the very special ways of celebrating biodiversity of nature. Use of Amaranth and buckwheat on the occasion of observing a fast is very common. This reveals that Indians knew for ages that amaranth and buckwheat are not cereals. Today‘s biological sciences also prove that these two crops are pseudo cereals rather than cereals which are prohibited during fast.


LOSS IN BIODIVERSITY:Biodiversity is a term used to describe the numbers of species, families and other biological divisions of life forms on Earth. Studies of this subject in various parts of the world will be discussed. Certain regions and countries in the world harbor very large numbers of plant and animal species, yet these same areas are threatened by habitat destruction. What is being done to preserve such areas will be explored. The importance of preserving biodiversity to human society and environmental balance is a major purpose of the project. A related topic integral to the study of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems and environments that provide habitats for the great diversity of life on Earth and their protection. As studies of the natural world have blossomed over the past century, scientists have documented Earth's amazing array of plants and animals, each species inter related with others in its environment. Although life exists even in inhospitable environments, such as frigid mountain tops and hot springs, certain ecosystems, primarily tropical forests and coral reefs, harbor the greatest diversity of species. Research on the species of plants and animals in these areas is just beginning, but remarkable findings have emerged. As a result of extensive deforestation, especially in tropical countries like INDIA many studies of forest fragmentation and its effects on biological diversity are taking place, finding that losses of even a few species can result in major ecological damage. A vast array of plants and animals can be found in the hot spots, including many extremely unusual and unique examples of evolution that are in imminent danger of extinction. The huge growth in human population over the past century, now totaling some 6.5 billion, is responsible for colonization of previously remote wilderness areas and for providing a market for the decimation of ancient forests and rare wildlife for commercial purposes. Land is being cleared for grazing livestock and farming, while mining, industry, corporate logging and other development are obliterating species throughout the world. Forests have the largest number of threatened species of any habitat, although the oceans have scarcely been explored for biodiversity. Tropical forests throughout the world harbor about half the world's plants and animals on only 7 percent of the planet's land area. In Earth's history, mass extinctions have occurred on at least five occasions, nearly obliterating the majority of life forms. These were natural events, but the present catastrophic situation is considered the sixth mass extinction, one that may end in destroying or seriously damaging the remaining rainforests, coral reefs and other precious centers of biodiversity within the next By some estimates, half of the estimated 5 million animals and plants that now exist, only a fraction of which have been scientifically identified, could be gone within a century. Just as the diversity and ecological roles of species are beginning to be seen as components of an immense and beautiful living tapestry, the strands of this tapestry are unraveling. The disappearance of even a single species can result in extinctions of others dependent on it. For example, elephants and hornbills are the primary dispersers of many forest plant seeds, upon which a host of animals rely. Both are now in danger of extinction, threatening entire ecosystems. Thus, biodiversity is not an abstract concept, but a blueprint of the Earth's life forms. It is vital that its many parts be preserved. Once destroyed, many ecosystems, such as old-growth forests and other key environments, may never regenerate. In most such cases, our knowledge of diverse systems is inadequate to gauge just how many species--or which species--could disappear from an ecosystem before it collapses. Nor do we know how much genetic diversity a species can lose through loss of individuals before it can no longer adapt to changes in its environment. Drastic changes caused by human activities are outpacing research on such situations. The


healthy functioning of ecosystems is the key to human survival. Although the majority of biologists consider the loss of biodiversity to be the greatest problem facing humanity, few members of the public are even aware of this critical situation. Ignoring these experts' opinions of the precarious status of our planet's health, upon which our lives depend, is the equivalent of ignoring the opinion of a team of eminent doctors recommending urgent action to remedy an emergency medical condition. Steps are being taken to preserve many critically important regions. Through acquisition of habitats and reintroductions of species, entire ecosystems are being saved. In a growing trend, countries are setting aside large new national parks and reserves. Bolivia has set aside massive parks in areas with high biodiversity and unusual types of forests Education is the key to the future of preserving biodiversity, which is vital in maintaining the planet's ecological stability. Studies on this and related subjects are now being taught in an increasing number of high schools and colleges so that future generations will not squander the planet's true wealth, its natural heritage. Appreciation of the sheer beauty of the natural world and its wealth of species is an important facet of this project. The overall goal of creating a network of experts working more precisely on forest fragmentation, biodiversity loss and conservation issues targeted two main issues: i) ii)

Improve the knowledge and the relevance of the indicators that can be developed and used in relation to forest biodiversity loss in India. Facilitate building capacity not only in monitoring and evaluating forest fragmentation but also on forest restoration to mitigate the existing trends on biodiversity loss for the region.


REASON FOR LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY Increasing concern surrounding the loss of natural forests and the decline in biodiversity has lead to a rise in research and policy initiatives in recent years. However, interest has focused primarily on lowland tropical rainforests. Tropical mountains and temperate rainforests, which face similar pressures from human activities and play major roles in the livelihood of rural communities, are often ignored. DISASTERS UPDATE THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Forest fires of varying intensity have occurred in the protected areas in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve over the last week even as summer is round the corner, a quick analysis of satellite data indicates. Among other areas, the fires have occurred in the wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur and Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka. Outbreaks were also reported from the Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala and the Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu during the week that ended on February 14. Most of the fires were noticed at the Kerala-Tamil Nadu-Karnataka tri-junction. A single instance of fire was recorded in the Eravikulam National Park in Kerala. The Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks and the Wayanad and Mudumalai Sanctuaries fall in the core area of the environment all sensitive Nilgiri the biosphere. Last year also fires had occurred in the protected areas of the Biosphere. Discussions had been held at a conference of Forest Ministers of the southern States about possible joint action against forest fires in the border areas. However, any such action that may have been attempted seems to have failed to yield significant results. Almost all of forest fires are caused by humans, especially by people entering the protected areas illegally. Some of the fires recorded are the result of controlled burning by Forest Departments. The data regarding the fires have come from the MODIS Rapid Response System under the NASA- centre international Earth Observing System. Fire maps are supplied as part of the Fire Information for Resource Management System in order to enable managers of protected areas to react to fires. In its report of 2006, the National Forest Commission pointed out that evergreen forests subjected to a fire on a large scale have a changed complexion forever. The frequency of such fires is growing, it noted. Forest fires, often linked to excessive livestock grazing and careless human behavior, destroy biodiversity. Fragmentation of wildlife habitats arising from loss of Forest connectivity is a serious limiting factor for wildlife. Big fires are one of the major factors that cause fragmentation. The others are diversification of forest areas for developmental activity and loss of forest cover due to illicit felling and grazing, according to the Commission. Recent research on forest fires in the Western Ghats shows they have had significant impacts on species diversity and regeneration in the tropical dry deciduous forests. Species diversity declined by 50 to 60 per cent, while density of saplings declined by about 30 per cent under some conditions. In tropical moist deciduous ecosystems, there were substantial declines in species diversity, tree density, seedling and sapling densities in burned forests compared to the unburned forests, the findings indicate. Similarly, a large number of medicines have their origin in plants or microorganisms. Quinine and penicillin arc two such examples which are used extensively against some of the most deadly diseases. With the advent of biotechnology, in future genes from many species will be utilized for a variety of purposes. But if the biodiversity is lost, these future possibilities will disappear.


Jackals disappearing in Tripura forest AGARTALA, Nov 19: At a time when Tripura recorded a huge number of new flora and fauna species during study on bio-diversity resources, researchers uttered concerns over the declining trend of the natural carcass cleaner –– the Jackal in the forest. During a review meeting of externally aided Forestry project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) early this week, it revealed that the Jackals were not yet found so far in the prospective hotspots of bio-diversity, which indicated a negative reserve of some faunal and mammal species. The report, however, mentioned, as many as 266 butterfly species were found in Tripura forest of which 51 species had not yet been identified. Besides, seven plant species, including a tree fern and two fish species were found in past four months. At the initial phase of investigation, the department found 79 herpato fauna, 372 rare flora and fauna species and 244 medicinal plants. The Tripura University and College of Fisheries, two leading NGOs working in the field of environment and bio-diversity- ARPAN and Dishari were engaged for both survey as well as monitoring the project component. Forest Minister Jitendra Choudhury told UNI that the State Government would prioritize investigation of bio-diversity resources along with eco tourism development, including eco lodges and parks, wiping out invasive species, nature interpretation centers in all three major eco-parks, creation of waterbodies and strengthening eco development committees under the JICA. ―We have already started the Panchakarma Therapy and Clinic, first in Northeast with the experts and imparting capacity building training to the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) for their income generation activities under JICA and set a butterfly park, near new capital complex,‖ Choudhury attributed. The JICA has awarded Rs 366 core in 2007-08 fiscal to Tripura for restoration of degraded forests and improve the livelihood aspects of villagers, including tribal families engaged in traditional shifting cultivation, promoting sustainable forest management through Joint Forest Management, improving environment and poverty alleviation with in 201415, said Tripura JICA Project Director P Biswas.Replying to a query Biswas said that almost 10 per cent of the total project had already been spent and the progress of the project implementation was quite satisfactory. ―We want to turn Tripura into a world class tourist spot,‖ he added. EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING I)

First, Himalayan stream flooded as temperatures rose in Himachal. Now running out of melt water, the streams are disappearing and grass is growing and where snow once covered the mountains. The shepherds are a confused a lot in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh. Where there was once rippling streams for their sheep to drink from, there is now lush grass. And where there was once rippling streams for the sheep to drink from, there is now just rock or more grass. As rising of temperatures and erratic snowfall deplete glaciers in the Himalayan state, the springs, which were close to flooding due to excess melt water a few years ago are now starting to dry up. Meanwhile the snow line is moving further north. ―The areas between the tree line and snow line have increased a lot over the last 10-15 years. The last year mean while saw a record of sort. There was virtually no snow in winter on skiing slopes of Narkanda, 63kms north of Shimla – at a height of 9,500feet. They say most of the


stream and spring flowing down into the pastureland has dried up. The older shepherd also talked of how glaciers seem to getting smaller. There has been a shift in snowfall patterns from winter to early summer. It causes early melt of glaciers. Also the snowfall is inadequate not enough to replenish the melt.


THESE LEADS TO ANOTHER CAUSE THAT APPLES LOSSES THERE CRUNCH AS MERCURY RISES IN SHIMLA. ORCHARDS SHRIVEL, mosquitoes and fans make appearance as temperatures soar in Himalayan hill station. Fans are selling fast in Shimla this year, as Global Warming pushes temperature to record-breaking highs. Soon, the hill station famous for its cool summers and crisp apples may have neither. The maximum temperature here hit 33.5°C. That is highest on record in the region. For experts, and local residents, its confirmation that climate change is altering their lives in always them never imagined from shriveling apple orchard to first ever case of vector born disease like dengue. In 2006 Shimla reported the first ever case of dengue a disease transmitted by a female Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which breeds in humid conditions in temperature ranging from 20°C to 30°C. In 2009 Himachal Pradesh reported over 100 cases Rising temperature coupled with the huge variation in day and night temperature that is result of global warming have caused a decline of apple production. ―Last year apple production in Himachal Pradesh was 21million box. This year it fell to 10million box because of less snowfall in winter and drought in ensuing month. The quality has declined even at higher altitudes.


III) WHAT ABOUT YAMUNA RIVER? For those who ask a question where has the water of Yamuna gone? The answer is depressing that the river is deliberately turn into a sewage drain. Up to Hathnikund and the Tajewala head works, the river has a flow of 82 cubic meters per seconds of water, of which 1.5 percent is diverted to the Eastern Yamuna Canal. At Wazirabad, 11 cumesec is subtracted for supply to Delhi, and nothing flows into the river downstream from here. To that is added Delhi‘s sewage. The river downstream authority in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, U.P., Rajasthan, and Haryana have limited their attention toward cleaning the river though engineering projects and paid no heed to the advice for providing fresh water down stream of Wazirabad as recommended in a modeling exercise for the Yamuna action plan phase II.


IV) IN THE WOODS. SAVING FOREST can be a potent weapon in the fight against climate change. India wants UN funds for not only protecting the existing forest but also afforestation. India is third largest importer of Palm oil which is found in everything from chocolate bar to buy fuel and timber products more than 74 million hectare of forest that is 3 times that of U.P size have been logged degraded pulped in last 50 years. India comes 4th in Green House Gas emitter with US as 1st, China 2nd and Indonesia as 3rd. Globally more than 1 million hectares of tropical rain forest are destroyed ever month, an area of forest the size of a football pitch every 2 seconds. “Earth can be saved from global warming if we work together as it is posing danger to human existence. Are survival depends on a collective effort towards preventing deforestation, curbing industrial emission and increasing dependence on fuel efficient technologies.” EXTINCTION OF SPECIES The environmental situation is likely to be further aggravated by the increasingly rapid, large scale global extinction of species. It occurred in the 20th century at a rate that was a thousand times higher than the average rate during the preceding 65 million years. This is likely to destabilize various ecosystems including agricultural systems. In a slow extinction, various balancing mechanisms can develop. None knows what will be the result of this extremely rapid extinction rate. What is known, for sure, is that the world ecological system has been kept in balance through a very complex and multifaceted interaction between a huge numbers of species. This rapid extinction is therefore likely to precipitate collapses of ecosystems at a global scale. This is predicted to create largescale agricultural problems, threatening food supplies to hundreds of millions of people. This Ecological prediction does not take into consideration the effects of global warming which will further aggravate the situation. Industrialized fishing has contributed importantly to mass extinction due to repeatedly failed attempts at limiting the fishing. A new global study concludes that 90 percent of all large fishes have disappeared from the all over the world oceans in the past half century, the devastating result of industrial fishing. The study, which took 10 years to complete and was published in the international journal Nature, paints a grim picture of the Earth‘s current populations of such species as sharks, swordfish, tuna and marlin. …The loss of predatory fishes is likely to cause multiple complex imbalances in marine ecology. Another cause for extensive fish extinction is the destruction of coral reefs. This is caused by a combination of causes, including warming of oceans, damage from fishing tools and a harmful infection of coral organisms promoted by ocean pollution. It will take hundreds of thousands of years to restore what is now being destroyed in a few decades.


…According to the most comprehensive study done so far in this field, over a million species will be lost in the coming 50 years. The most important cause was found to be climate change. ―If current estimates of amphibian species in imminent danger of extinction are included in these calculations, then the current amphibian extinction rate may range from 25,039–45,474 times the background extinction rate for amphibians. It is difficult to explain this unprecedented and accelerating rate A research article in the journal, Science, warned commercial fish and seafood species may all crash by 2048 At the current rate of loss, it is feared the oceans may never recover. Extensive coastal pollution, climate change, over-fishing and the enormously wasteful practice of deep-sea trawling are all contributing to the problem. As also explained on this site‘s biodiversity importance section, ecosystems are incredibly productive and efficient—when there is sufficient biodiversity. Each form of life works together with the surrounding environment to help recycle waste, maintain the ecosystem, and provide services that others—including humans—use and benefit from .For example that the noted, the ocean ecosystems can:    

Take sewage and recycle it into nutrients; Scrub toxins out of the water; Produce food for many species, including humans Turns carbon dioxide into food and oxygen

With massive species loss, the report warns, at current rates, in less than 50 years, the ecosystems could reach the point of no return, where they would not be able to regenerate themselves. In an update to the above story, 3 years later, 2009, Dr. Worm was a bit more optimistic that some fish stocks can rebound, if managed properly. But it is a tough challenge ―since 80 percent of global fisheries are already fully or over-exploited.‖ An example of overfishing that has a ripple-effect on the whole fish-food chain is shark hunting. The Great White Shark is the largest predatory fish. Millions of sharks are killed each year from overfishing and trade. Many die accidentally in fishing nets set for tuna and swordfish, while others are caught for their meat or just for their fins. A demand for shark-fin soup in places like China is decimating shark populations. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy (not even a necessity) and can be extremely lucrative. So much money can be obtained just from the fin that fishermen hunting sharks will simply catch sharks and cut off their fins while they are alive, tossing the wriggling shark back into the ocean (to die, as it cannot swim without its fin). This saves a lot of room on fishing boats. Sharks are known as the ―apex predator‖ of the seas. That is because in general sharks are at the top of the food chain. Without sufficient shark numbers the balance they provide to the ecosystem is threatened because nature evolved this balance through many millennia.


As WWF, the global conservation organization notes, ―Contrary to popular belief, shark fins have little nutritional value and may even be harmful to your health over the long term as fins have been found to contain high levels of mercury.‖ Declining Ocean Biodiversity It is not just fish in the oceans that may be struggling, but most biodiversity in the seas. This includes mammals (e.g. whales, dolphins, polar bears), birds (e.g. penguins), and other creatures (e.g. krill). In the past century, commercial whaling has decimated numerous whale populations, many of which have struggled to recover. Commercial whaling in the past was for whale oil. With no reason to use whale oil today, commercial whaling is mainly for food, while there is also some hunting for scientific research purposes. Large scale commercialized whaling was so destructive that in 1986 a moratorium on whaling was set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). As early as the mid-1930s, there were international attempts to recognize the impact of whaling and try and make it more sustainable, resulting in the actual set up of the IWC in 1946. Many commercial whaling nations have been part of this moratorium but have various objections and other pressures to try and resume whaling. But thank-fully India is not involved in whale trading unlike Japan that is a prime example of whale hunting. Some have argued for whale hunting as a way to sustain other marine populations. National Geographic Wild aired a program called, A Life among Whales (broadcast June 14, 2008). It noted how a few decades ago, some fishermen campaigned for killing whales because they were apparently threatening the fish supply. An inspired English movie named JAWS was broad casted to prevent this act.



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A 20-year study has shown that deforestation and introduction of non-native species has led to about 12.5% of the world‘s plant species to become critically rare. A report from the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development suggests that the forests of the world have been exploited to the point of crisis and that major changes in global forest management strategies would be needed to avoid the devastation. India faces major role in this loss because illegal forest trade is practiced at a large scale in the forest for a small amount of recovery done to the forest area. This is done right under the governments nose with government officer happily involve in the act for small amount of bribe given to them. What also makes this a problem is that many of the endangered species are only found in small areas of land, often within the borders of a single country. New species of animals and plants are still being discovered Logging may affect these animals‘ habitats, though. The loss of rainforests around the world, where many species of life are found will mean that potential knowledge, whether medicinal, sustenance sources, or evolutionary and scientific information etc. could be lost.


Sustainable forests or Sustainable profits? The overly corporate-led form of globalization that we see today also affects how natural resources are used and what priorities they are used for. It is true that cutting down forests or converting natural forests into monocultures of pine and eucalyptus for industrial raw material generates revenues and growth. But this growth is based on robbing the forest of its biodiversity and its capacity to conserve soil and water. This growth is based on robbing forest communities of their sources of food, fodder, fuel, fiber, medicine, and security from floods and drought.

We hear more about sustainable forestry practices by the large logging multinationals. However, what does that really mean? Who is it sustainable for? Society and the environment, or for the logging companies ? By replanting trees that will grow quickly and allow them to be felled for ―sustained‖ logging sounds like a good strategy. However, the trees that are favored for this (eucalyptus) require a lot of water to grow so quickly. As John Madeley points out: The [eucalyptus] trees achieve this rapid growth by tapping large quantities of groundwater, impoverishing surrounding vegetation and threatening to dry up local water courses. Madeley continues by describing the impact that the use of chemicals to treat wood pulp from the eucalyptus has on local fisheries and on food production. This has had terrible effects on indigenous people within such regions.10 years on from the above.

CONFLICT BETWEEN HUMAN AND FORESTS Quite often we make blanket statements or generalized conclusions that people are the cause of deforestation. While that is true, unfortunately all people around the world are not equal, and it also follows that some are more responsible for deforestation than others. Often, in forests of the Asia, forest protection schemes have been promoted that go against indigenous peoples and cultures, rather than work with them. As Indian activist and scientist Vandana Shiva and others have shown in countless work, indigenous people often have their cultures and lifestyle structured in a way that works with nature and would not undermine their own resource base. For example, in her book (Stolen Harvests) she describes how their traditional knowledge has been beneficial to the environment


and has been developed and geared towards this understanding and respect of the ecosystems around them . Yet because of blanket conclusions that human kind is responsible for deforestation, we risk assuming all types of societies are equally responsible for deforestation that is damaging to the environment. (This hints then, that for sustainable development projects, a more participatory approach can be accepted by local people, reducing the chance for conflict and distrust and therefore be more likely to succeed as well.) As the cartoon, further above, from the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment notes, logging companies and others can often have a larger impact on deforestation. This is not even for local needs, but to meet fast food restaurant demands in the Northern states. A combination of geopolitics and economic agreements foster a scenario for such results to occur.

Misuse of land and resources How land is used to produce food can have enormous impacts on the environment and its sustainability. And this often has nothing to do with populations. Take the following as an example: Junk-food chains, including KFC and Pizza Hut, are under attack from major environmental groups in the United States and other developed countries even in India it has a great impact because of their environmental impact. Intensive breeding of livestock and poultry for such restaurants leads to deforestation, land degradation, and contamination of water sources and other natural resources. For every pound of red meat, poultry, eggs, and milk produced, farm fields lose about five pounds of irreplaceable top soil. NOTE: We don‘t even think for a split of second before having these food items so very deliciously as a part of our meal. Which cause a great loss to our biodiversity which takes a lot to recover? The water necessary for meat breeding comes to about 190 gallons per animal per day, or ten times what a normal Indian family is supposed to use in one day, if it gets water at all. Overall, animal farms use nearly 40 percent of the world‘s total grain production. In Indian Agriculture, women use up to 150 different species of plants (which the biotech industry would call weeds) as medicine, food, or fodder. For the poorest, this biodiversity is the most important resource for survival. … What is a weed for Monsanto is a medicinal plant or food for rural people. Because industrial agriculture promotes the use of monocultures, rather than a diversity of crops, the loss of biodiversity is leading to more resource usage, as described above. This as well as other political situations such as the motives for dumping surplus food on to developing countries to undersell the local farmers, leads to further hunger around the world.


Long Term Costs If ecosystems deteriorate to an unsustainable level, then the problems resulting can be very expensive, economically, to reverse. In India, for example, logging of trees and forests means that the floods during the monsoon seasons can be very deadly. As the Centre for Science and Environment mentions, factors such as climate change and environmental degradation can impact regions more so, and make the impacts of severe weather systems even worse than they already are as they further point out, for poor regions, such as Orissa in India, this is even more of a problem. The cost of the effects together with the related problems that can arise (like disease, and other illness, or rebuilding and so on) is much more costly than the maintenance and sustainable development practices that could be used instead. As an example, and assuming a somewhat alarmist scenario, if enough trees and forests and related ecosystems vanish or deteriorate sufficiently:   

Then the oxygen-producing benefits from such ecosystems are threatened. The atmosphere would suffer from more pollution. The cost to tackle this and the related illnesses, problems and other cascading effects would be enormous (as it can be assumed that industrial pollution could increase, with less natural ecosystems to “soak” it up) Furthermore, other species in that ecosystem that would depend on this would be further at risk as well, which would lead to a downward spiral for that ecosystem.

Compare those costs to taking precautionary measures such as protecting forests and promoting more sustainable forms of development. Of course, people will argue that these situations will not occur for whatever reasons. Only when it is too late can others say “told you so” — a perhaps very nasty Social costs to some segments of society can also be high. Take for example the various indigenous Indians of Latin America. Throughout the region, as aspects of corporate globalization spread, there is growing conflict between land and resources of the indigenous communities, and those required to meet globalization related needs. The following quote from a report on this issue captures this quite well: Many of the natural resources found on Indian lands have become more valuable in the context of the modern global economy. Several factors have spurred renewed interest in natural resources on Indian lands in Latin America, among them the mobility of capital, ecological limits to growth in developed countries, lax environmental restrictions in underdeveloped nations, lower transportation costs, advances in biotechnology, cheap third world labor, and national privatization policies. Limits to logging in developed countries have led timber transnational‘s overseas. Increased demand and higher prices for minerals have generated the reopening of mines and the proliferation of small-scale mining operations. Rivers are coveted for their hydroelectric potential, and bio prospecting has put a price tag on biodiversity. Originally considered lands


unsuitable for productive activities, the resources on Indian lands are currently the resources of the future. Indian land rights and decision making authority regarding natural resource use on territories to which they hold claim threaten the mobility of capital and access to resources—key elements of the transnational-led globalization model. Accordingly, increased globalization has generally sharpened national conservative opposition to indigenous rights in the Americas and elsewhere in the name of ―making the world safe for investment.‖ The World Trade Organization (WTO), free trade agreements, and transnational corporations are openly hostile to any legislation that might create barriers to investment or the unlimited exploitation of natural resources on Indian lands. The result has been a growing number of conflicts between indigenous communities and governments and transnational corporations over control of natural resources. Conflicts between Humans and Wild Life

Sometime leopards attack human‘s habitat in urban and rural area. Also wild boars and black bucks destroy crops. These two instances are of the conflicts between human and wild animals. These conflicts arise from human interference in the natural habitat of animals. Loss of prey species like deer and Sāmbhar leads to attacks on cattle by tigers and leopards. Lot of forest area leads herbivores like black bugs and chital towards crops fields. Conflict between human and wild life is one of the most serious threats to India‘s wildlife and people‘s livelihood. Conflict directly threats species and their habitat. It also indirectly contributes to other factors that threats wildlife such as illegal trade in wildlife. The efforts to control such conflicts include habitat improvement, changes in cropping pattern, catching and shifting menace animals to save place, etc. Government, farmers, local committee have to consider the reasons for conflicts, the needs for conservation and the work out solutions.


CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY: In human life, value of biodiversity is quite big. Something‘s about it are still unknown to us. It also has many uses. It must, therefore, be conserved, that is, it should be managed in such a way that it can be used rationally and sustainably so that it can be protected. For thousands of years, communities have been conserving biodiversity in different ways. In more recent times, international agreements and national laws are made and programmers have been set up for biodiversity conservation.  The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) have identified 309 forest preservation plots of representative forest types for conservation of viable and representative areas of biodiversity. Out of these plots, 187 area in natural forests and 112 are in plantations, covering a total area of 8,500 hectares. Conservation of biodiversity in India is of 2 types:  

In-situ conservation Ex-situ conservation



IN-SITU CONSERVATION: Conserving diversity in its natural environment is the base of in-situ conservation. It includes conservation of plants and animals in their native eco-systems and is applicable for wild flora and fauna. It is done by declaring the area as protected area with the emphasis either to save that entire area or the particular endangered species. Following are the examples of in-situ conservation: Natural parks and wildlife sanctuaries: National parks and wildlife sanctuaries are effective conservation of species and ecosystems. These are set up under the provisions of the Wildlife protection act, 1972. There are 92 national parks and 500 wildlife sanctuaries in India. Of these, Maharashtra has 5 national parks and 34 wildlife sanctuaries. The national parks in Maharashtra are Tadoba, Navegoan, pench, Sanjay Gandhi and Gugamal. Each national park conserves specifically some particular species of wildlife along with others. Jim corbet national park was the first national park of India. Sanctuaries are the protected areas for wildlife where killing, hunting, shooting is prohibited however operations like harvesting of timbers, collection of miner forest products and private ownership rights are permitted as long as they do not adversely affect the wild life. E.g. Bharatpur wild life Sanctuary in Rajasthan. Wetland conservation: Several wetlands have been identified as nationally important wetlands and assigned special protection. Some have been designated as ‗Ramsar Sites‘ under the Ramsar Convention. Some examples are: Harike(Punjab), Vembabnad-Kol(Kerala), Chilika Lake and Bhitarkanika Mangroves(Orissa),East Kolkata Wetlands(West Bengal),Sambhar Lake and Keladeo National Park(Rajasthan), Bhoj (Madhya Pradesh)and Loktak Lake(Manipur).Madhya Pradesh has constituted a lake conservation authority for wetland conservation. Biosphere reserve: These are undisturbed natural areas for scientific study as well as areas where habitat conservation is done. A biosphere reserve consist of two zones i.e. Core zone and buffer zone. Core zone is the internal area with almost no human interference and buffer zone surrounds the core zone where research, tourism, agriculture activities are carried out. A biosphere reserve may have one or more national parks within it. There are 14 biosphere reserves in India. Example. Nilgiri, Nanda Devi, Sunder bans etc.



COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY: Sacred natural sites and species; the declaration by a community of specific areas or species has led to continued conservation of grooves, tanks, and grasslands in various parts of India. WETLANDS: Wetlands are just--that wet lands. They are transition zones between dry lands and waterways. Sometimes they are referred to as swamps, bogs, fens, bays, or marshes. Wetlands are found on every continent except Antarctica, and they can be any size--ranging from a small spot in a field to an area of several hundred square miles. But what makes a wetland a wetland? Some agencies define wetlands as areas that have water present at or near the ground's surface for as few as seven consecutive days. Other agencies state that water must be present for a longer period of time in order for an area to be classified as wetlands. Although the exact definition of wetlands may vary, all wetlands share three characteristics: the ability to hold water (hydrology), the presence of moist to wet soil (hydric), and the presence of water plants (hydrophytes). To learn more about the definition of a wetland and the various types of wetlands, visit Athena's Learning about Wetlands page. Wetlands form when water collects in a low-lying area where the soil has very poor drainage. The water that fills wetlands comes from many sources. Precipitation is a major source of water for many wetlands. Other wetlands are maintained by water that periodically overflows rivers, lakes, etc. A third source of water for wetland is groundwater--water that flows underground and sometimes emerges at the surface of the soil. All three of these sources--precipitation, overflow, and groundwater--deliver water to wetlands on regular cycles called hydro periods, based on the natural cycle of water through the hydrosphere. All types of wetlands--no matter their location--are interesting areas in which the Earth's spheres are closely linked. For example, the activities of some Microorganisms in a wetlands biosphere result in the production of methane that is released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, certain atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide may be trapped in the moist soil of a wetlands lithosphere. In addition, many Microorganisms and plants in the biosphere filter toxins and excessive nutrients from the hydrosphere as water flows through the wetlands. This filtering effect is just one of the many important functions of wetlands in nature. The environmental cycles that occur within each of these spheres are also closely linked. Since all living things require water, the cycle of water through wetlands directly affects the biological cycles of the unique species of Microorganisms, plants, and animals that live there. Cycles of wildfires--which correspond to cycles of wet and dry periods--also impact biological cycles. The rock cycle is yet another process affected by the presence of water (see figure below). Fastmoving water erodes soil and rock, carrying them away toward the ocean, while slow-moving water allows the soil, or sediment, it carries to fall to the bottom of the water channel. This process may eventually result in the formation of sedimentary rock. Throughout history, people have tried to manage wetlands in various ways. Each attempt has had significant impacts on the delicate natural balance of cycles within these ecosystems. Long ago people began draining the water from wetlands and filling them with soil so that the land could be


developed for agricultural as well as commercial and residential use. People have also constructed dikes, dams and canals that change the path of water flow in order to supply sufficient amounts of water to agricultural, commercial and residential areas. This change in water flow has caused many wetlands to go dry. Whatever the cause, when wetlands dry up a chain reaction of negative environmental impacts is set into motion. For example, the lack of water in wetlands can result in the disappearance of crayfish. Raccoons and other animals that eat the crayfish would suffer--even starve to death--because of the loss of this food source. Carnivores that may not live in the wetlands, but rely on the raccoons and other wetlands animals as prey, may find themselves looking for new food sources as well. Currently, many groups are restoring and creating wetlands in an effort to correct past mistakes and to take advantage of the beneficial functions of these ecosystems. Sacred groves of India; India has a long tradition of prudent use and wise conservation of all resources that are useful to people. Forests have been the lifelines for forest-dwelling communities since ancient times. One method for conservation of this green resource was the creation of sacred groves, usually dedicated to a local deity. A traditional means of biodiversity conservation, these groves can be considered the ancient equivalent of natural sanctuaries where all forms of living creatures are given protection by a deity. No one is permitted to cut any tree or plant, kill animals and birds, or harm any form of life in this area. Ancient Indian texts have many References to sacred groves, for example, Kalidaasa‟s Vikramorvawsiyam. Today, there are only about 1000 square kilometers of undisturbed sacred groves, scattered in patches all over the country. Only the groves in the remote and inaccessible areas remain untouched. While religious taboo protected the groves near towns earlier, today they are protected with the means of barbed wire fencing or hedges. The decline of sacred groves can be attributed to the change in social values and religious beliefs as a result of modernization and urbanization. The expansion of the market economy, which places heavy demand on resources such as timber, is another major cause. For most villagers, economics is easier to understand than ecology. Sacred groves vary in size from a few trees to dense forests covering vast tracts of land. These groves are important today as they are banks of genetic and plant diversity that have to be preserved and sustained. These areas often contain species that have disappeared from the regions outside the grove. The extant groves are proof that the forests exist not only because there are regulations but also because there are traditions.


Some of the richest groves in the country are found in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, where almost every village is said to have had a grove, known locally as the lawkyntangs. The largest of them are in Mawphlang and Mausmai. These groves are a storehouse of a large number of rare plant species. The local people believe that the forest spirit will kill anyone who damages the plants and other life forms in the groves. This has contributed greatly to the preservation of these forests. Maharashtra has about 250 sacred groves, known as deorais or devrais, in the districts of Pune, Raigad, and Kolhapur. These areas are full of a large variety of rare species with great biodiversity. India is believed to have nearly 14,000 sacred groves spread among different states. Most of the groves are located in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. Species like vatavruksh and hanuman langue are worshipped and protected. In Rajasthan, the Demoiselle Crane, and winter migrant is protected by villagers and also given food. In Maharashtra, at Morachi Chincholi near Pune, peafowl are similarly protected by villagers. There are several such examples of protection accorded by communities to specific areas or species due to religious or cultural reasons.













































EX-SITU CONSERVATION:Ex-situ conservation is conserving animals in the artificially created natural environments. It is not always possible to conserve particular species in the wild due to the fewer amounts of species. In such cases conservation in laboratories and in gardens etc. is practiced generally for species that are under the threat of extinction. There are many methods of ex-situ conservation. They are as follows: 1. Captive breeding of species 2. Re-introduction of species 3. Wildlife zoos 4. Botanical gardens 5. Gene banks i.e. conservation of the genetic material

CAPTIVE BREEDING OF SPECIES:Captive breeding is the process of breeding animals in human controlled environments with restricted settings, such as wildlife preserves, zoos and other conservation facilities; sometimes the process is construed to include release of individual organisms to the wild, when there is sufficient natural habitat to support new individuals or when the threat to the species in the wild is lessened. Captive breeding aims at maintaining continuation of healthy generations of species for the conservation of biodiversity. These are supplementary to the in-situ conservation initiatives. Animals born in captive breeding are taken proper care and are safely grown. In India; captive breeding is being used to help to recover the species of WHITE-RUMPED VULTURE, INDIAN VULTURE, WILD BOARS, RHINOCEROUS, ELEPHANTS, WILD BULLS, CHEETAH, HYENAS, SLENDER-BILLED VULTURE and many more species of birds and animals.


Re-introduction of species:Over the last few decades wild population of Chitala chitala (HamiltonBuchanan) has been declined more than 50% due to various reasons and is presently listed under endangered (EN) category due to reduced abundance. In the present communication wild C. chitala were collected from natural habitats and induced to spawn under captivity during July 2002 by injecting three different doses of synthetic hormone Ovaprim. Intramuscular injections were administered to fishes using three different doses (1.5, 1.0 and 0.5 ml/kg body weight). Artificial breeding pool was prepared for each set by encircling area (20 × 5 m) with mosquito net, where wooden country boat (8 × 4 × 2.5 feet with surface area 48.5 sq. feet) was placed inside the breeding pool. Distinct spawning behavior was noticed in the experimental sets with different hormonal dose whereas no spawning activity was noticed in control set. The fertilization rate varied from 48.8680.2% and total numbers of spawned eggs in two sets of experiments were estimated to be 81,034. The average number of eggs deposited 15 ± 2.1/square inches. The fertilized eggs were large in size (4.5 ± 0.05 mm), adhesive and attached to the hard substratum. The eggs hatch out between 168192 h after fertilization and about 33,639 hatchlings were produced. Newly hatched larvae measured 10.23 ± 0.03 mm and 0.031± 0.008 gm in weight and the mean diameter of yolk sac was 4.1 ± 0.08 mm. The yolk sac remains attached up to a week. The percentage survival of hatchlings varied from 42.2 to 65.60. Statistical analysis was worked out to determine the relation between the hormone dosage with different breeding parameters like latency period, fertilization rate, egg output, hatching rate and hatchling production. Here is another fine example of how the Asiatic cheetah which was on the verge of extinction was conserved.


The Asiatic Cheetah ("cheetah" derived from Sanskrit word chitraka meaning "speckled") (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) is now also known as the Iranian Cheetah, as the world's last few are known to survive mostly in Iran. Although recently presumed to be extinct in India, it is also known as the Indian Cheetah. During British colonial times in India it was famous by the name of Hunting-Leopard, a name derived from the ones that were kept in captivity in large numbers by the Indian royalty to hunt wild antelopes with. The Asiatic Cheetah is a rare critically endangered subspecies of the Cheetah found today only in Iran, with some rare chances and very occasional sightings in south western Pakistan. It lives in its vast central desert in fragmented pieces of remaining suitable habitat. In recent times in the last century this once numerous and common animal was driven to extinction elsewhere in its entire former range in Southwest Asia from Arabia to India including Afghanistan; latest research shows that only 70 to 100 Asiatic Cheetahs are estimated to remain, most of them in Iran with some sightings in Pakistan. This is the result of continuous field surveys, all of which have been verified by the results of more than 12,000 nights of camera trapping inside its fragmented Iranian desert habitats during the past 10 years. The Asiatic Cheetah and the Persian Leopard are the only remaining species of large cats in Iran today with the once common Caspian Tiger and Asiatic Lion having already been driven to extinction in the last century. During the early 2000s, Indian scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, proposed a plan to clone Asiatic Cheetahs obtained form Iran. India requested Iran to translocate one live pair to India. If not possible, Indian scientists requested Iran to allow them collect some live cells of the Cheetah in Iran itself, which can then be made into living cell lines. However, Iran refused saying that it would neither send any Cheetahs to India nor would allow Indian scientists to collect their tissue samples. But, the Indian government has again contacted Iran to explore the possibility of the Islamic Republic supplying cheetahs to help to re-establish their presence on the subcontinent decades after they were hunted to extinction. The Iranian embassy in Delhi said on Wednesday its government was in the process of ―arranging‖ talks. The Ministry of forests and environment of India is now working out the nitty-gritty. As a first step, a two-day seminar of technical experts on cheetahs will be held in Gajner from September 9, 2009. The Minister of forests and environment of India, Jairam Ramesh told the press that, "Experts on cheetah, including Divya Bhanu Singh Chabra and NK Ranjit Singh, will present their papers on how to go about bringing cheetahs to India," The minister said the initial plans are to bring the cheetahs to Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary. "We want to set up a breeding ground for the cheetahs and Gajner seems to fit the bill perfectly. Thereafter, they will be transported to various states," he added. India is also in talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran over the possibility of sending a pair of Asiatic Cheetah to India. It is said that Iran wanted an Asiatic lion in exchange for a cheetah and that India wasn't ready to export any of its Asiatic lions. The Iranian embassy in Delhi said that its government was in the process of ―arranging‖ talks.


Poaching for fur and destruction of habitat has greatly reduced tiger populations in the wild. At the start of the 20th century, it is estimated there were over 100,000 tigers in the world but the population has dwindled to about 2,000 in the wild. Some estimates suggest the population is even lower, with some at less than 2,500 mature breeding individuals, with no subpopulation containing more than 250 mature breeding individuals. India is home to the world's largest population of tigers in the wild. According to the World Wildlife Fund, of the 3,500 tigers around the world, 1,400 are found in India. [ A major concerted conservation effort, known as Project Tiger, has been underway since 1973, which was initially spearheaded by Indira Gandhi. The fundamental accomplishment has been the establishment of over 25 well-monitored tiger reserves in reclaimed land where human development is categorically forbidden. The program has been credited with tripling the number of wild Bengal tigers from roughly 1,200 in 1973 to over 3,500 in the 1990s. However, a tiger census carried out in 2007, whose report was published on February 12, 2008, stated that the wild tiger population in India declined by 60% to approximately 1,411. It is noted in the report that the decrease of tiger population can be attributed directly to poaching. Following the release of the report, the Indian government pledged $153 million to further fund the Project Tiger initiative, set-up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers, and fund the relocation of up to 200,000 villagers to minimize human-tiger interaction. Additionally, eight new tiger reserves in India are being set up. Indian officials successfully started a project to reintroduce the tigers into the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The Ranthambore National Park is often cited as a major success by Indian officials against poaching.


The Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 enables government agencies to take strict measures so as to ensure the conservation of the Bengal tigers. The Wildlife Institute of India estimates showed that tiger numbers had fallen in Madhya Pradesh by 61%, Maharashtra by 57%, and Rajasthan by 40%. The government's first tiger census, conducted under the Project Tiger initiative begun in 1973, counted 1,827 tigers in the country that year. Using that methodology, the government observed a steady population increase, reaching 3,700 tigers in 2002. However, the use of more reliable and independent censusing technology (including camera traps) for the 2007-2008 all-India census has shown that the numbers were in fact less than half than originally claimed by the Forest Department. Tiger scientists in India, such as Raghu Chundawat and Ullas Karanth, have faced a lot of criticism from the forest department. Both these scientists have been for years calling for use of technology in the conservation efforts. Chundawat, in the past, had been involved with radio telemetry (collaring the tigers). While studying tigers in Panna tiger reserve, he repeatedly warned the FD authorities about the problem of tiger poaching in the reserve; they remained in denial, producing bogus numbers of tigers in their reports, and banned Chundawat from the reserve. Eventually, however, it was proven he was right, as in 2008. the authorities admitted that all tigers in Panna have been poached. Karanth has been instrumental in using camera traps, radiotelemetry and prey counts.

Wildlife zoos Botanical gardens:Zoos and botanical gardens are the most conventional methods of ex-situ conservation, all of which house whole, protected specimens for breeding and reintroduction into the wild when necessary and possible. These facilities provide not only housing and care for specimens of endangered species, but also have an educational value. They inform the public of the threatened status of endangered species and of those factors which cause the threat, with the hope of creating public interest in stopping and reversing those factors which jeopardize a species' survival in the first place. They are the most publicly visited ex-situ conservation sites, with the WZCS (World Zoo Conservation Strategy) estimating that the 1100 organized zoos in the world receive more than 600 million visitors annually. Endangered plants may also be preserved in part through seed banks or germ plasm banks. The term seed bank sometimes refers to a cryogenic laboratory facility in which the seeds of certain species can be preserved for up to a century or more without losing their fertility. It can also be used to refer to a special type of arboretum where seeds are harvested and the crop is rotated. For plants that cannot be preserved in seed banks, the only other option for preserving germ plasm is in-vitro storage, where cuttings of plants are kept under strict conditions in glass tubes and vessels. A tank of liquid nitrogen, used to supply a cryogenic freezer (for storing laboratory samples at a temperature of about −150 degrees Celsius). Endangered animal species are preserved using similar techniques. The genetic information needed in the future to reproduce endangered animal species can be preserved in gene banks,


which consist of cryogenic facilities used to store living sperm, eggs, or embryos. The Zoological Society of San Diego has established a "Frozen zoo" to store such samples using modern cryopreservation techniques from more than 355 species, including mammals, reptiles, and birds. Showy Indian clover, Trifolium amoenum, is an example of a species that was thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 1993by Peter Connors in the form of a single plant at a site in western Sonoma County. Connors harvested seeds and grew specimens of this critically endangered species in a controlled environment. The Wollemi Pine is another example of a plant that is being preserved via ex-situ conservation, as they are being grown in nurseries to be sold to the general public.


Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden (previously known as Indian Botanical Gardens, Howrah) is situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata. They are commonly known as the Calcutta Botanical Garden, and previously as "The Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta". The gardens exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens spread over 109 hectares.The best-known landmark of the garden is The Great Banyan, an enormous banyan tree (Ficus bengalhensis) that is reckoned to be the largest tree in the world, at more than 330 metres in circumference. They are also famous for their enormous collections of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus (Pandanus). The gardens were founded in 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd, an army officer of the British East India Company, primarily for the purpose of identifying new plants of commercial value, such as teak, and growing spices for trade. Joseph Dalton Hooker says of this Botanical Garden that "Amongst its greatest triumphs may be considered the introduction of the tea-plant from China ... the establishment of the tea-trade in the Himalaya and Assam is almost entirely the work of the superintendents of the gardens of Calcutta and Seharunpore (Saharanpur)." A major change in policy, however, was introduced by the botanist William Roxburgh after he became superintendent of the garden in 1793. Roxburgh brought in plants from all over India and developed an extensive herbarium. During the first twenty years especially of Nathaniel Wallich‘s superintendence, it "... contributed more useful and ornamental tropical plants to the public and private gardens of the world than any other establishment before or since. ... I here allude to the great Indian herbarium, chiefly formed by the staff of the Botanic Gardens under the direction of Dr. Wallich, and distributed in 1829 to the principal museums of Europe." This collection of dried plant specimens eventually became the Central National Herbarium of the Botanical Survey of India, which comprises 2,500,000 items. Over the years attractive display gardens for the public have been developed and many kinds of plants have been cultivated for scientific observation. During the 1970s the garden initiated a program to introduce improved food plants and other varieties of economic benefit to the people of India. Indian Botanical Gardens can be reached by taking a ferry service from Bichali Ghat, in Metiabruz. Presently, the easiest way to reach there is by passing over the Vidyasagar Setu as one of the exits from this bridge leads to the garden. The Indian Botanical Gardens, Howrah was designated the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden on June 25, 2009 in honor of Jagadish Chandra Bose, the Bengali polymath, whose scientific advances were made in a laboratory at Presidency College, Kolkata.


GENE BANKS:In India also, an Indo-US project on plant genetic resources was signed in 1988, with an outlay of 23.95 million US dollars (approx. Rs 72 crores) for a period of seven years (upto 1995). This project involved construction of a National Gene Bank consisting of 0) Seed Repository (storage at -20°C), (ii) Cryo-Bank (storage at -96°C) and (iii) Tissue Culture Repository (l0-25°C). It is also recognized that facilities in India are already available for the medium and long term storage of seeds of those crop plants, which can withstand high drying and low temperature. However, in vitro conservation techniques including tissue culture and cryopreservation offer distinct advantages. In view of this, in 1986 with the financial support from the Department of Biotechnology (Govt. of India), NFPTCR (National Facility for Plant Tissue Culture Repository) was established at NBPGR (National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources) located in New Delhi. For the development of this facility, initially a budget of Rs 2.96 crores was provided for a period of five years (1985-1990). An additional sum of Rs 2.80 crores was sanctioned for the next five years (1991-1995) for continuation and expansion of tissue culture facility. This national facility aims at developing suitable in vitro conservation technologies for medium and long-term preservation of clonally propagated agri-biohorticultural and plantation crops including their wild relatives. The programme also aims at developing techniques for cryopreservation of seeds, pollen and in vitro cultures; for this purpose liquid nitrogen (-196° C) container and a liquid nitrogen plant are already in operation for cryopreservation. A range of crops like millets (pearl millet, minor millet), oil seeds (Brassica spp., sunflower, sesame), vegetables (onion, carrot, chilly, amaranth, turnip, radish, tomato), pulses (Vigna spp). And narcotics (tobacco, poppy) have been maintained for several year in liquid nitrogen without any decline have been maintained for several years in liquid nitrogen without any decline in viability or vigor. The strategy of desiccating excised embryonic axes has led to the successful cryopreservation of even recalcitrant seed species (e.g. tea, orange, Neem) and is being tried for cocoa, jackfruit and almond, etc. Short-term or medium-term conservation at NFPTCR are also being tried through long-term root cultures, which are capable of regenerating in shoots (e.g. Citrus = lime). Similarly shoot cultures of banana, ginger, greater yam (Dioscorea alata), and sheet potato could be maintained for 8-24 months at 25°C. The sub-culture interval for this purpose can be extended by using low temperatures ranging from 4°C to 15°C, although chilling sensitivity varies between species. This technique is also used to keep the tissue cultures free from viruses (consult Chapter 30 for details).


Conservation efforts by private sector (community seed banks or gene banks, etc.). The preservation of diversity (particularly of endangered plants, plantation crops and industrial crops) is not solely the domain of large national and international programmes. In recent years, several organizations collectively called Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), 'Seed Savers Exchange', and industries (e.g. community and regional seed banks or gene bank) have emerged to support and expand local efforts on global biodiversity conservation. In many cases, they link traditional farmers with ex situ conservation programmes. "Seed Savers Exchange" conserves and exchanges over 5000 native varieties. Ex situ conservation of crops like sugarcane, rubber, oil palm, pineapple, etc. is also done by industries. Farmers also help in ex-situ conservation of forest trees and fruit trees through practice of agro forestry, which is facilitated and encouraged by ICRAF (International Centre for Research on Agro forestry). An organism's genes are essentially its blueprints, painstakingly detailed strands of DNA in every living cell. By properly freezing this genetic material, we can preserve the blueprints for ages to come. On one hand, these efforts are very much in keeping with Noah's. There are currently more than 900 endangered animal species on the planet, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Instead of facing down a flood from God, they're largely threatened by conditions brought on by centuries of human expansion, exploitation and pollution. If we preserve their genes now, scientists think we will be able to reintroduce them through cloning later. Likewise, many species of crops are threatened as well. But gene banks are more than just a global backup system for the next time the human race accidently deletes an important file. By collecting the genetic master plans for the planet's plants and animals, we're better able to study the inner workings of the natural world. In this article, we'll look at current efforts to collect and store the genes of Earth's living creatures, from food crops and extinct wildlife to the DNA profiles of entire human populations. You could say we're saving up for a rainy day.


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