What is Biodiversity ?
Variety of species of plants and animals found in an area is called biodiversity. It mainly has two major categories
- Flora: It refers to grasses, plants, trees etc of an area.
- Fauna: It means birds, animals, reptiles, insects of an area.
Biodiversity in India
- India is very rich in biological diversity. There are variety of plants and animals found in our country.
- India has nearly 8% of the total number of species found in the world.
- About 81,000 species of fauna [animals] and 47,000 species of flora [plants] are found in India.
- India is famous for rhino, elephant, tiger, lion, monkey, snakes, peacock etc.
Classification of Species
Many species of plants and animals are under threat due to over exploitation by the human being. International Union for Conservation of Nature [ IUCN ] has classified the species into following category:
- Normal Species: There is no threat to these species, their population is sufficient in the environment. Example_ rats , ants etc
- Rare Species: Species with small population is called rare. They are rarely seen in the forest. Example – Himalayan brown bear, wild Asiatic buffalo, desert fox etc
- Vulnerable Species: Population of these species decreases to such an extent that they may become endangered. Example – blue sheep, Asiatic elephant etc.
- Endangered Species: Population of these species become so small that they come under danger of extinction. If negative factors continue, they may become extinction. Example – Indian rhino, black buck, crocodile, Indian wild ass etc.
- Extinct Species: These species are not found anywhere in the world. They have gone from our earth for forever. Example – Asiatic Cheetah, pink head duck etc.
Reasons for Depletion of Biodiversity [Flora and Fauna]
Human activities are mainly responsible for depletion of biodiversity. Followings are the reasons or causes behind loss of flora and fauna.
- Deforestation, illegal cutting of trees, and forest fire.
- Hunting and poaching of wild animals for skin, tusk, bone etc.
- Construction of dam, road, railways in the forest.
- Pollution and global warming leading to climatic change.
- Increasing human population pressure on the forest resources.
Methods or Measures to Conserve Biodiversity
- Deforestation should be totally stopped. Instead, trees should be planted on degraded land and on land where was forest earlier.
- People should start movement against tree cutting such as ‘Chipko Movement’.
- Mass media, e.g. TV, radio, newspapers etc, should used for creating awareness.
- Should pass and implement [Indian Wildlife [Protection] Act – 1972] strict laws against illegal cutting of trees, hunting and poaching.
- Various project like Project Tiger; Project Rhino etc should be started.
Role of Community [local people] in Conserving Forest and Wildlife
Community or local people are very helpful in conserving biodiversity i.e. plants and animals. Many communities live in the forest. Forest is home of many traditional people.
- In Rajasthan, local people came forward to stop mining activities to protect Sariska Tiger Reserve.
- People of Alwar District of Rajasthan have declared 1200 hectares of land as ‘Bhairodev Dakav Sonchuri’ in which they don’t allow hunting.
- In Jharkhand, Munda tribe worship Mahua and Kadamb trees and they protect them from cutting.
- Famous Chipko Movement in Himalaya was started by local community only. Beej Bachao Andolan and Navdanya movements have also been started in Himalaya by local communities .
Types Of Forests
- Reserved Forests: These forests are earmarked only for production of timber. Grazing of animals and cultivation of crops are not allowed in these forests. About 54% forests are grouped under reserved forests.
- Protected Forests: These forests are protected from further depletion. Right of grazing and cultivation is allowed with certain restriction. About 29% forests come under protected forests.
- Unclassed Forests: There is no restriction in these forests. These forests belong to government and private individuals. About 16% forests are unclassed forests.
- Tiger is one of the most important species among fauna. It was estimated that population of tigers has decreased rapidly in the last one hundred years.
- Major reasons identified behind depletion of tiger were hunting and poaching, deforestation, depletion of prey etc. Project Tiger was started in 1973 to protect them from extinction.
- There are 27 tiger reserves in India. Project Tiger has successfully improved the condition. Population of tigers increased from 1800 to about 3600 in the last 30 years.
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