India is a homeland of prized asset of natural biodiversity, ranging from tropical to tundra species like, Himalayan yaks to giant elephants. Besides, floral diversity is unique in itself. But, despite the great pool of diversity of natural species, nation has been experiencing considerable loss of species due to host of reasons. So, let’s begin to explore the means and ways for management of biodiversity in India..
Biodiversity meaning and definition
It is the totality of genes, species and ecosystems, including flora and fauna across the planet. For example, desertic ecosystem, equatorial ecosystem, tundra as well as marine ecosystems. We know that all totality isn’t an abrupt outcome, but has been evolved after a trial and tribulation of millions of years. Undoubtedly, it is the product of various fragile ecological processes coupled with environmental favourability.
Nowadays, the predicted numbers of species on the earth are around 40 to 50 millions. These numbers incldes 60 percent insects, 2.7 lakh plants and around 5 thousands mammals.
Endangered and extinct species
As per the red data book, in India, there are around 35 species of animals categorized as critically endangered, and five species are already declared extinct so far. Species such as, Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, black buck, snow leopard are some species categorized as critically endangered. Whereas, Sunderban dwarf, rhinoceros, Asiatic cheetahs are some others declared as extinct. The other numbers of vulnerable are countless, desperately demanding serious efforts.
Red data book
It is a global endeavour to conserve and protect species of plants and animals in danger. It is assigned to compile data in respect to species available in the natural habitats and categorize these species according to theirs vulnerability like, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, and extinct. Such data or information is used to design measures to arrest the loss of natural assets worldwide in cooperation with respective governments. It is established under the aegis of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in around 1960s, after the establishment of IUCN.
Impacts of diminishing biodiversity
Obviously, considering the value of this natural asset, we can logically conclude that the loss of biodiversity may cast deep impacts on the various aspects of our environment and the society in which we live.
The continuous stagnating or declining rate of ecological efficiency has already hampered the carrying capacity of each tropic level to support large number of animals in each tropic level. The depletion in the species richness and diversity is the ultimate outcome.
Our scientific knowledge is enough to justify our claim that the reduction in genetic diversity and speciation is the product of dwindling species diversity.
Consequently, the numbers of vulnerable species are increasing due to fragmented nature of food chain and food webs.
Effective measures for management of biodiversity in India
All inclusive management strategy needs to be designed and implemented to arrest the ongoing pace of loss of natural asset.
Management of information about the species
In the absence of human interventions, nature has master skill in checking and balancing all the processes on the earth. But, human interventions can be encountered by the corrective measures. Henceforth, we need to churn out some viable solutions in order to avoid looming danger over are desired species.
• We need to accelerate our on-going systematic work to identify and name our undiscovered or unexplored species which are in the far-flunged, rugged mountainous region.
• Need to collect authentic data about the number and nature of various species from our all 10 bio-geographical regions. It will help us to ensure their balanced use and conservation.These are:
1.Trans Himalayan, 2. Himalayan,
3. Desert, 4.Semi-arid, 5. Western Ghats,
6. Deccan Peninsula, 7.Gangetic plain,
8.Coasts, 9. Northeast India, 10.Islands.
• Identification and their sequencing is essential to give priority in protection and conservation of such as vulnerable, critically endangered, and near extinct, on the basis of red data book.
• Prepare a plan of action for different category and implement it in a phased or at a time according to its seriousness.
Use of Technology in protection
• So far, we have declared many programs like sanctuaries, national parks and biospheres to protect endangered species and theirs habitat.
But, even after stringent laws, we noticed many news about poaching, and other incidents which caused death for many fragile critically endangered species like big Cats, Tiger, Panther and herbivores like Deer, Elephants etc.
Therefore, technological interferences are very essential in monitoring, supervision for critically endangered species to arrest or control such incidents.
•Further, special training for forest officials is very essential.
Contribution of tribals in nature protection
• Having been recognized as the son of soil, the forest dwelling scheduled tribes are very instrumental in conservation and protection of fragile species and theirs richness.
• Tribal participation, instead of evacuation is utmost essential as they are the best knowledgeable about forests and theirs wildlife.
• Water is the most effective, powerful factor in protecting and preserving species diversity. For this purpose, water conservation measures must be empowered or accelerated in the drought prone or parched areas.
Whenever there is water scarcity, they will either die down or migrate in other areas with the help of various employment schemes including MGNAREGA, we can achieve both goal, conservation and regeneration of biodiversity. Furthermore, these efforts may provide livelihood for economically, socially backward tribals within their own habitat
Change in agricultural practices
• Today, we, out of the several thousand species of edible plants, less than 20 plant species are cultivated to produce about 58 p.c. of the world’s food.
Wheat, corn and rice the three major carbohydrate crops yield nearly two-third of food sustaining the human population. Fats, oils and fibres etc. are other uses for which more and more new species need to be investigated.
•For this purpose, we need to suggest and educate our farming community by providing certain incentives.
•In this field, we should assign greater role for our agricultural universities to educate farmers about the negative impacts of “Monoculture.”
Over-exploitation on the name of medicines
• Current over-exploitation of substances with therapeutic properties is a great concern. But, It is essential. We know that growing adverse climatic conditions are proliferating many diseases.
For this, we need to augment the productivity of such species and provide guidelines for just or balanced use.Statistic reveals that our 25 p.c. of drugs in the pharmacy are derived from a mere 120 species of plants.
• Moreover, by making plants and animals symbols of national pride and cultural heritage, we can also protect the species diversity.
•Apart from this, spreading awareness about vegetarian diet and its importance will prove useful in controlling diseases.
•Environmental illiteracy is a big cause of concern in our country despite environmental education. This is the gray area for improvement.
• Eco-tourism with proper guidelines may help to advance the intended cause.
Integrated pest, nutrition management
• Excessive use of chemical pesticides should be minimized. Use of pesticides may cause a large numbers of species either die down or become fragmented. Hence, natural pest control might prove beneficial alternative.
• By introducing integrated pest, nutrient management programs, we can save large number of fragile ecosystems and microorganism necessary for plants’ growth.
• To control construction activities in the ecologically sensitive zone. This will help in protecting endemic species in the ecologically very fragile zone.
•We need to impose reasonable limits on the introduction of exotic or alien species because these might invade native species. Invasive species are considered second only to habitat destruction as a major cause of extinction of species. So, It is essential to introduce in a strict supervision.
• Promote economic development which is culturally, socially and ecologically sustainable.
Cooperation with global community
• International co-operation is very essential in these endeavours. Through both means negotiations and actions, we must strive to push our cause further.
•Mere- non binding conventions will not work. Therefore, need is to be done legally binding principle.
It is absolutely true that our rich, diverse biodiversity took many million years to reach at this stage. It gives values and meaning for barren landscape on the earth. So far, we have given irreparable damage and are responsible for the present precarious condition of species. Being the guardians of this priceless endowments, our duty is to preserve it for the future generations as well. Suggested measures need to be implemented in spirit and deed. This is least we can do for the management of biodiversity in India..