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With all the bing cognition, Earth is like no other topographic point in the full existence. For among the countless stars, Moons, asteroids, and other organic structures arrayed across the enormousness of outer infinite, merely our bantam planet is known to back up life. And some signifier of life is everyplace: on the inclines of high mountains and on the floors of the oceans, in searing comeuppances and at the cold poles. Life in tremendously different forms and sizes, from the elephantine blue giants and redwoods to butterflies and bugs is present everyplace. This is what is known as the ‘biodiversity ‘ . Biodiversity measures the huge assortment of life in the Earth and it is an index of the overall wellness of our planet. Because if some signifiers of life fail to last and go nonextant, it is a arrow to the environment going hostile towards those signifiers of life. To day of the month, scientists have identified and counted about 1.4 million species, merely a little fraction of the figure of species that may hold existed one time.

Organisms are inter-dependent. One being can barely last without the assisting manus from a host of others. For illustration, Man depends upon other beings for its assorted demands and he portions the planet with all others. Without the diverse signifiers of life, adult male would non last. Man gets his nutrient straight or indirectly from workss, animate beings and other beings. Man derives direct benefits of biodiversity from the crop of domesticated or wild species for nutrient, fibers, fuel, medical specialties and many other intents. The biodiversity influences clime ordinance, H2O purification, dirt formation, inundation bar and alimentary recycling along with countless aesthetic and cultural impacts. Biodiversity is therefore cardinal for keeping current and future societal and economic supports. The figure of species of workss, animate beings, and micro-organisms, the tremendous diverseness of cistrons in these species, the different ecosystems on the planet ( comeuppances, rain forests and coral reefs ) is all parts of this biological diverseness. Even without much scientific cognition, people from clip immemorial have recognized the importance of biological diverseness and have learnt to populate in harmoniousness with the nature. Yet, wittingly and unwittingly, adult male has attacked the biodiversity during the last one hundred old ages or more and now a big figure of species are under enormous emphasis.

Speciess diverseness is utile to adult male in a assortment of ways. A big figure of species of comestible workss is tantamount to giving more assortment of harvests fulfilling diverse nutrient wonts. Similarly, a big figure of species of animate beings ensures an suitably long nutrient concatenation that sustains the ecosystem. However, human activities are distributing their wings doing monolithic extinctions species. The cost associated with this is really high and we rarely recognize it. The menaces to biodiversity can be lessened merely through a new theoretical account of development that avoids losingss to biological diverseness. The diverseness must be preserved at any cost for the benefit of our future coevalss and if we can non make the same, our descendants will ne’er forgive us.

The Biodiversity construct was globally conceived after the publication: Conserving the World ‘s Biological Diversity brought out by IUCN ( International Union for Conservation of Nature ) , WWF ( World Wildlife Fund ) , World Research Institute and World Bank.

Biodiversity or biological diverseness

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity ( 1992 ) defines biodiversity as: Biodiversity or Biological diverseness means the variableness among populating beings from all beginnings including tellurian, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological composites of which they are portion. Biodiversity is a term used to depict the whole of biological diverseness, i.e. , all living things: workss, animate beings, and micro-organisms and all their interactions with each other and their environment. The term includes three degrees of organisation: In simple words Biodiversity means the figure of species of workss, animate beings and micro-organisms occurring in a given home ground or a part, state, continent or the full Earth. Biodiversity includes diverseness within species ( Genetic diverseness ) , between species ( Species diverseness ) and of ecosystems ( Ecosystem diverseness ) .

Familial diverseness

Genes are bearers of familial features and each species has a fluctuation of cistrons. This is what is known as Familial Diversity. If a species becomes nonextant, the cistrons, which are responsible for the typical characters of the species, are besides lost everlastingly. The cistrons may be present in 100s of different combinations giving rise to different features for persons within the same species. Therefore, all worlds belong to the same species ‘homo sapiens ‘ , yet each adult male is different from every other adult male at least in some respects of his physical, psychological and behavioural build-up. These differences from one person to another reflect different gene-combinations and hence, a rich familial diverseness. If the figure of persons of a species is little, familial fluctuations are less, and finally, this leads to extinction of the species.

Man has learnt to work with the familial fluctuations bing in nature. Therefore, it has been possible to make high-yielding and newer assortments of rice and other harvests, and besides animate beings through suited combinations of effectual cistrons. Biotechnology and bioengineering have helped adult male to make these to run into the ever-increasing demand for nutrient and other points. By suitably blending cistrons from wild and domesticated species together, new assortments have been created. Familial diverseness is really rich in nature and scientists have been able to make a ‘gene pool ‘ by roll uping and continuing gene-combinations from assorted species

Speciess diverseness

If one goes to a wood and lists all the different animate beings, birds and workss present, the rich diverseness in species is easy observed. If he goes to another wood and does the same thing, the lists now he makes will be different from those made earlier. This represents species diverseness from one location to another. Such diverseness can be seen in all ecosystems. Any natural ecosystem possesses a much richer species diverseness compared to an unnaturally created ecosystem. For illustration, a wild wood will hold many species of animate beings and workss compared to a societal forestry plantation. Areas where a really big figure of different species are of course found are known as ecological ‘hot musca volitanss ‘ , which need to be conserved. India is recognized as one of 15 states peculiarly rich in species diverseness.

Ecosystem diverseness

Ecosystem diverseness represents differences in ecosystem from one geographical location to another. It is observed that each geographical unit ( state, province, territory, etc. ) has its ain typical ecosystem. One location differs from another with regard to landscape dwelling of inhabited or uninhabited land, woods, agricultural land, grassland, rivers, lakes, hills and mountains ; human colonies and other factors. Consequently, the ecosystem of one topographic point will hold differences from the ecosystem of any other topographic point. Some countries may go on to hold a natural ecosystem which has non been disturbed by assorted human activities while others may hold unreal ecosystem such as a park, game sanctuary, etc. , which have been built by work forces for their ain pleasance. When natural ecosystems are destroyed by human activities such as through building of a dike or reservoir, or through installing of an industry or a immense colony, the ecosystem diverseness is affected.

Number of species in the universe

It is about impossible to give the entire figure of different species populating in the Earth. We can see merely some of the species and the big bulk of the species are unseeable to us. Again, we can see merely those species which are in our close locality. Every province, every state has got its ain species, both animate beings and workss and we can barely anticipate to cognize the same. It is a favorite game in the schools to call as many animate beings as one can, fix lists of birds and insects, name the veggies, name the workss that grow in the vicinity, etc. Even if one aims to enlist all the species ( animate beings – domestic and wild, cowss, hogs, sheep and caprine animals, Equus caballuss and camels, paultry, birds, insects, veggies, fruits, workss – nutrient and non-food species, medicative workss, herbs, etc. ) , the lists will be really really large and other people will be able to add more to the lists. It shows the outrageousness of the figure of species. When one takes a powerful microscope and looks at the micro-organisms, their figure will overpower the perceiver.

Peoples besides know that the same species can non be seen all throughout the twelvemonth. We can see different species in every season. The general thought is that 1000s of species can be found in the different ecosystems of the universe and any effort to enlist all the species and give them names would be a colossal undertaking. The scientists tried to develop a system during the mid-eighteenth century for calling and sorting beings. A figure of adventurers from Europe went on long ocean trips to detect more species in other countries. Two of the best known adventurers of those times were Alfred Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin. Wallace and Darwin sailed through the seas and the islands in hunt hitherto undiscovered species and the people came to cognize of the undiscovered countries and their vegetations and zoologies. Wallace was a British naturalist, who went to South America and to Indonesia for roll uping and depicting workss and animate beings non found in Europe. A British geologist, Charles Darwin sailed in a ship, H.M.S. Beagle to South America and collected legion unknown species of workss and animate beings in their native home grounds. The travels by the two work forces brought to the bow the rich diverseness of life, with regard to both the figure and assortment of workss and animate beings on Earth.

The adventurers have shown that some species could be found merely in certain specific locations and therefore, the species found in a continent or a sub-continent differ from those found in another. There are many illustrations. The one-horn rhino can be found in Assam ( India ) while Africa has two-horn rhino. The llamas are found in South America, the Pongo pygmaeuss in Southeast Asia, and the marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands merely. Some species outlive others and the rule of the endurance of the fittest ( the natural choice ) determines which species dominate. Over the old ages, the lists of species have grown in length and more and more species have been discovered.

Scientists assume that up to 100 million species may be at that place in the Earth – the big bulk still unknown and undiscovered. Merely about 1.8 million of the species have been identified, classified and documented so far. It is besides possible that a big figure of species will merely disappear from the Earth without being identified. Worlds are merely one species out of the 1000000s.

Each species has chiseled features and this fact was recognized long ago by the laminitis of modern systematics, Carolus Linnaeus, in his magnum musical composition Systema Naturae ( 1758 ) . The single features of the species help in their categorization and certification as a distinguishable species. Biologists today think of species as “ groups of crossbreeding beings with distinguishable morphological, physiological, behavioural, and ecological features, each created in geographic isolation from other similar populations through a long evolutionary procedure ” . This definition clearly shows that the species are dynamic in nature and they can alter through clip giving rise to 100s of other signifiers, each germinating within a few coevalss.

4.2. Biogeographic categorization of India

The scientific survey of the geographic distribution of workss and animate beings is known as the Biogeography of a part. This distribution is dependent on geologic history of the part, the clime, dirt composing, and the presence of woods, comeuppances, rivers and H2O organic structures, seas and oceans, hills and mountains, etc. Other of import factors are interactions among the species, co-evolutionary influences, and the generative and nutritionary demands of workss and animate beings, etc. A biogeographic part is a big, by and large uninterrupted portion of the Earth ‘s surface which has a typical biotic community. Biogeographic parts are normally defined individually for flowered and faunal communities and are mostly restricted to the tellurian countries of the Earth.

India is the 7th largest state in the universe and Asia ‘s 2nd largest state with an country of 3,287,263 square kilometer. The Indian mainland stretches from 8o 4 ‘ to 37o 6 ‘ N latitude and from 68o7 ‘ to 97o25 ‘ E longitude. It has a land frontier of some 15,200 kilometers and a coastline of 7,516 kilometer. India ‘s northern frontiers is with Xizang ( Tibet ) in the Peoples Republic of China, Nepal and Bhutan. In the Northwest, India boundary lines with Pakistan ; in the nor’-east, China and Burma ; and in the E, Myanmar ( Burma ) . Physically, the monolithic state is divided into four comparatively chiseled parts – the Himalayan Mountains, the Gangetic river fields, the southern ( Deccan ) tableland, and the islands of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar. The Himalayas in the far north include some of the highest extremums in the universe. The highest mountain in the Indian Himalayas is Kanchenjunga ( 8586 m ) , which is located in Sikkim on the boundary line with Nepal. To the South of the chief Himalayan massif lies the Lesser Himalaya, lifting to 3,600- 4,600 m, and represented by the Pir Panjal in Kashmir and Dhaula dhar in Himachal Pradesh. Further South, flanking the Indo-Gangetic Plain, are the Siwaliks, which rise to 900-1,500 m. The southern peninsula extends into the tropical Waterss of the Indian Ocean with the Bay of Bengal lying to the sou’-east and the Arabian Sea to the sou’-west.

Biogeographically, India is divided into 10 parts as shown in Table 4.1. The biogeographicl zones of India along with their subdivisions are besides shown in Fig. 4.1 ( Beginning: “ Conserving our Biological Wealth ” , WWF for Nature-India ( modified ) and Zoological Survey of India ) .

4.3. The values of biodiversity

Peoples do non recognize the true value of biodiversity till some species of workss and animate beings could no longer be found in his vicinity. For illustration, in a peculiar part, the coming of spring is associated with the fathead ‘s vocalizing. Then all of a sudden, people fail to hear the fathead as the bird has disappeared due to unfriendly environment and may hold migrated to far-away parts. Now the people feel the absence of the bird and get down to understand the demand for biodiversity.

There is a harmonious bonding between world and nature. When this bond is lost, biodiversity is besides lost. Therefore, biological diverseness demands to be conserved by keeping the appropriate conditions of home ground and physical environment, and by taking the menaces against uninterrupted being of species. If we need some works and animate being species for our usage, we must make it by following the rule of sustainable use. If a tree has to be cut, more trees are to be planted. For this, coordination between economic development, population, resources and environment is to be established and the linkages between production, living criterions and eco-friendly environment are to be maintained. Conservation measures relate to a rational usage of bioresources. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002 ( WSSD 2002 ) , held in Johannesburg, South Africa has for the first clip called for steps so that loss of biological diverseness can be halted.

Table 4.1. Biogeographic categorization of India [ Source: “ Conserving our Biological Wealth ” , WWF for Nature-India and Zoological Survey of India ]


Biogeographic Zone


Biotic State

Entire country ( Sq kilometer )



Across chief Himalayan scope, resembles Tibetan tableland. Average lift & gt ; 3000 m

Upper Regions




Kashmir to Manipur and Tripura in Northeastern part

North-West Himalayas



West Himalayas



Cardinal Himalayas



East Himalayas




Hot arid

Rajasthan, 61 % ; south Gujarat, 20 % ; North Punjab and Haryana, 9 %





Cold arid

Higher Ladakh part of Jammu & A ; Kashmir and Lahul & A ; Spiti of Himachal Pradesh

Ladakh ( cold )




Western U.P. , southwest M.P. , cardinal Maharastra, eastern Karnataka, western A P, cardinal Tamilnadu, southwesterly Gujarat, southwesterly Rajasthan and northwesterly Punjab.

Cardinal India






Western Ghats

Hill ranges of Nilgiris and western Ghats with H2O divide between Arabian sea in the West and Bay of Bengal in the E

Malabar Coast



Western Ghat Mountains



Deccan Peninsula

Partss of Maharastra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala

Deccan South Plateau



Cardinal Plateau



Eastern Plateau



Chhota Nagpur



Cardinal Highlands



Gangetic Plain

Plains formed by the river Ganga and its feeders viz. , Yamuna, Gomti, Chambal, Kosi, Son, Ghagra and Gandak

Upper Gangetic Plain



Lower Gangetic Plain



North-East India

Consisting the seven provinces of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura

Brahmaputra Valley



North-Eastern Hills




West seashore and east seashore and 25 groups of Laksha Dweep island

Andaman Islands



Nicobar Islands



Lakshadweep Islands




220 islands of assorted sizes, Andaman group on the North and Nicobar group on the South

West Coast



East Coast


Fig. 4.1. Biogeographic zones of India ( beginning: Wildlife Institute of India )

Protecting biodiversity is in the involvement of the people and the universe. Over the old ages, the human civilisation has been built around the biological resources and these have acted as the pillars for consolidation, enlargement and endurance of civilisation. The countless natural species ( both workss and animate beings ) have constituted the base for agribusiness, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, mush and paper, gardening, building and besides, waste riddance. The loss of biodiversity earnestly affects the nutrient supplies, medical specialties, conventional and non-conventional energy and reduces the range for diversion and touristry.

Consumptive and productive values

The pleasance and satisfaction the people obtain through usage of natural resources is unmeasurable. This is the consumptive use of natural merchandises or biodiversity, such as firewood, games, veggies and domestic fowl. A big figure of goods are manufactured and from natural beginnings and are sold in the market – this is the productive value of biodiversity. Wild biological resources are domesticated through modern agribusiness, are used in bar of works and animate being diseases, etc. These impart productive value to the biodiversity. The lunger and the productive utilizations of biodiversity have economic value.

Non-consumptive value

The biodiversity has besides non-consumptive value. A wood, a hill, a river attention deficit disorder to the beauty of a topographic point ; flocks of birds returning to their nests in the eventide gives an aesthetic value to the topographic point. The carnal voices in the dark such as the foxes shouting remind the people of the wild nature and gives aesthetic pleasance. All these represent the non-consumptive value of the biodiversity. There are assorted other values which we can neither see or recognize ; for illustration, the biodiversity of a topographic point helps in keeping the H2O resources, prevents H2O and dirt loss, contributes to the familial development and development of bio-system, contributes to climate accommodation and stuff recycling, etc.

Spiritual, ethical and being values

These values of biodiversity are related to moralss and doctrine. For illustration, the people attach certain significance to some species of workss and animate beings and idolize them in the belief that their uninterrupted being is required for adult male ‘s endurance. The people merely attach particular value to some species and environment which are non to be exploited at any cost because the following coevals will profit from them. Attaching such significance to nature and nature ‘s objects in about spiritual or religious mode gives similar values to the biodiversity. This type of value helps in constructing a strong bond between adult male and nature, and the people feel passion, concern and duty for the species.

Ecological value

Each ecosystem serves some intent and when the people realize the value of this service, it becomes the ecological value of biodiversity. When we have a big wetland in our vicinity, it serves to chair waterlogging, filters the deposits, sublimate the H2O by taking away the extra foods and the contaminations, grows aquatic workss to be used as nutrient and medical specialties, supports aquatic life including fish, etc. When the people realize that the wetland is giving them really of import services, it is like attaching ecological value to the wetland which motivates the people to take stairss for preservation. A wetland supports tonss of biodiversity by moving as spawning and nursery evidences for fish and by supplying a home ground to birds and animate beings. These are ecosystem values. Similarly, a immense wood serves to chair H2O tabular array, control extremes of conditions, and generates O for human ingestion. These services give an ecological value to the wood.

The services that the biological diverseness give to worlds are:

Provision of nutrient, fuel and fibre

Provision of shelter and edifice stuffs

Purification of air and H2O

Detoxification and decomposition of wastes

Stabilization and moderateness of the Earth ‘s clime

Moderation of inundations, drouths, temperature extremes and the forces of air current

Coevals and reclamation of dirt birthrate, including alimentary cycling

Pollination of workss, including many harvests

Control of plagues and diseases

Care of familial resources as cardinal inputs to harvest assortments and

Livestock strains, medical specialties, and other merchandises

Ability to accommodate to alter

Each species is portion of an ecosystem where it interacts with members of its ain and besides with other species. There are manufacturers, consumers, decomposers, and many fluctuations of these functions such as rivals, dispersers and pollinators, and more. A species that is seen as comparatively unimportant may besides hold some of import function which it is playing unknown to us.

Potential value

The possible value of biodiversity is the value which is still non known to people. With the increased demand for bio-resources and the lessening in supply, it may be found that some resources which might non hold any usage long ago may be really utile today or in future. The nature has immense possible to offer – some are already in usage, others are in the procedure of find, and many more are yet to be discovered. Over the old ages, people have found a big figure of remedies, life-saving medical specialties from wild workss. In times of an epidemic or a pest eruption endangering nutrient harvests, adult male has ever turned towards nature for solutions, and found the redresss. It is like the diverseness of workss and animate beings holding infinite figure of cires for our jobs. The nature ‘s potency is genuinely limitless.

Scientific and Educational value

The nature and its intrinsic biodiversity is a illimitable research lab for scientific probe and research. It has besides enormous larning resources. The singularity of each species, its life-cycle, etc. ever fascinates the immature and the old alike. Peoples from different subjects, vegetation, fauna, Earth scientific discipline, chemical science, sociology, anthropology, etc. , find adequate stuffs to make research. Everything in nature has besides educational value. When one observes how the bees are roll uping honey from different flowers and convey them to their place, and how consistently the bees do their work, is a great lesion in societal behavior, corporate work, and subject. When one looks at the emmets line up one after another transporting little little nutrient points to their place, it is a really interesting lesson on integrity and strength. How the birds feed their immature 1s from their oral cavities have besides many larning points. These are merely a few illustrations. Everyone can larn from the nature and happen out one 100 illustrations of how and why the nature is a great instructor.

Intrinsic value

All beings strive ( normally unconsciously and in an evolutionary sense ) to accomplish certain basic predetermined ends – to turn, to make adulthood and to reproduce. These are called intrinsic values. Intrinsic value of biodiversity is non-anthropocentric i.e. non related to adult male and his demands.

Social Value

The societal value is related to how the society is deducing different benefits from biodiversity. This value is varied in nature. Some people merely bask an interaction with the nature. For illustration, they like to pass some clip in the bank of a river, or travel in a safary to see animate beings in wild, make some fishing in a lake, or merely see a of course beautiful location in a field day. The satisfaction behind such activities is the societal value of biodiversity. Visits to a topographic point of biological diverseness have been associated with aesthetic, recreational, cultural and religious pleasances. Traveling for a swim in a river or a lake, or thumbing through hills and woods have immense wellness benefits and hence, these activities are socially of import. It is rather common to hold different perceptual experiences about the societal values of biodiversity because the immature and the old may hold different positions of nature, and likewise, the urban and the rural inhabitants may look at species otherwise. The societal value is hence non fixed ; it may hold different significances to different groups of people and may besides alter with clip.

Economic Value

When biodiversity is measured in footings of some pecuniary value and a monetary value is determined, it becomes the economic value of biodiversity. All the above values and the societal, educational, recreational benefits drawn from biodiversity can be described in footings of a cost, direct or indirect, and together they will mensurate the economic value. It is non an easy undertaking to cipher the economic value, but a sensible estimation may be made in the undermentioned manner:

the intrinsic values of the works species present in the system,

the intrinsic values of fish and other edible species which are portion of the biodiversity,

the reacreational value of the location including the animaland the birds species,

the commercial value of any merchandise that goes into the market for usage as grocery, building stuffs, etc. ,

the market value of any stuff that is used either straight as medical specialty or is used to fabricate medical specialties.

There may be many other points of economic value and their pecuniary values should be added to the above. Appropriate tax write-off should be made from the estimation to account for the Restoration costs of assorted amendss done to the system by human invasion, inundation and other natural amendss, species extinction, etc.

4.4. Position of Global Biodiversity

Apart from environmental factors, the species diverseness depends on an appropriate reproduction rate. All persons within a species have a finite life span and must decease after the span is over. The endurance of the species will be determined by the figure of healthy progenies each person has been able to give birth to during its life span. If the reproduction rate is more than the decease rate, the species will last with ever-growing Numberss. This is the instance with adult male. However, if the reproduction rate comes down due to natural or environmental grounds, the peculiar species experience a diminution in its Numberss and is likely to go nonextant in class of clip. We have learnt so far that every species has some intrinsic value and provides some service to the ecosystem. If a species is no longer to be found, it means that some cardinal service is lost and decidedly, it will jeopardize human life excessively.

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre ( WCMC ) , the biodiversity information and appraisal wing of the United Nations Environment Programme ( UNEP ) has stated in 1992 that an estimation of 12.5 million species in the Earth is rather sensible. This estimation is shown in Table 4.3. 90 per centum or more of these species are to be found in the moist tropical woods, comprising of about 8 per cent of the universe ‘s land surface. The biodiversity-rich parts of the universe are Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America.

It is non known precisely how many species have become nonextant over theyears. Many species must hold perished even without being identified and enlisted. It is besides hard to measure whether the preservation steps adopted by different vountries have yielded any positive consequence. So far, two big groups of species, viz. the mammals and the birds, have been comprehensively studied and harmonizing to an estimation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) , 25 per cent of the universe ‘s about 4630 mammal species, and 11 per cent of the 9675 bird species can be stated as globally threatened species. This was the state of affairs in 1996. These species are at important hazard of entire extinction if no pressing steps are taken for their preservation.

It is found that the threatened and the vulnerable species are largely tellurian ( land-based ) and the chief ground for this is the devastation of their home grounds by rapid diminution in country under woods. However, freshwater species are every bit under menace due to enlargement of human activities and increasing usage of rivers and lakes for diversion and other activities. Marine life is besides threatened peculiarly in the coastal parts due to pollution, oil-spill and dumping of wastes.

One of the of import countries of biodiversity is the big figure of nutrient workss bing in the wild – some known, the big figure unknown. The ancient adult male used to take nutrient from these workss straight, and so the most convenient nutrient workss were domesticated, cultivated and grown in a regular manner. A really big figure still exists in the wild. Many of these are lost already with devastation of woods in the Torrid Zones.

Table 4.3. Estimated figure of known species

A Speciess

Known figure of species

Estimated entire figure of species


950A 000

8A 000A 000

Fungus kingdoms

70A 000

1A 000A 000


75A 000

750A 000


15A 000

500A 000


5A 000

500A 000


4A 000

400A 000


250A 000

300A 000


40A 000

200A 000


40A 000

200A 000


70A 000

200A 000


40A 000

150A 000


45A 000

50A 000

World sum ( all groups )

1 700A 000

12 500A 000

Beginning: World Conservation Monitoring Centre of United Nations Environment Programme ( UNEP ) 1992

The botanical households accounting for the universe ‘s chief nutrient workss are merely a few: for illustration, Gramineae ( grasses, including cereals ) and Leguminosae ( leguminous plants, including peas, beans and lentils ) constitute most of the nutrient workss. Peoples in different topographic points cultivate a sum of 200 workss for nutrient – out of these, approximately 20 workss are of major involvement. High giving varities of about all major harvests have been prepared in the research labs and released to the husbandmans. While people are engaged in the cultivation of these varities and in increasing production by usage of fertiliser and pesticides, the wild varities have been largely forgotten.

Timber from woods is a valuable resource – used in building of houses, boats and ships, in doing of door and window frames and panels, furniture and assorted adjustments every bit good as cosmetic points, lamp stations, etc. Many different species are used and depending on their quality, they differ in monetary values. One tree needs several old ages of growing before it becomes fit for these demands. The lumber is a worsening commodiy and because of steady diminution in markets, the monetary value has gone up many times. This has besides led to illegal felling of valuable trees by unscrupulous bargainers, black-marketing and cross-border illegal trade. With the turning market of plyboard, a big figure of trees have been rapidly consumed by the plyboard manuacturers. All these activities have led to disappearing of many timber-tree species from the woods or in a rapid diminution in tree population. IUCN has estimated that out of about 10000 tree species, about 6000 have fallen into the threatened position, with 976 being Critically Endangered, 1319 as Endangered and 3609 as Vulnerable ( Table 4.4 ) .

Sometimes, bing species are besides affected by debut of alien or new species wilfully into the home grounds. The new species because of the attention taken for their endurance in the new environment, multiply quickly and shortly the species bing already happen rivals for nutrient and home ground. This besides leads to some species going nonextant or endangered. Introduction of some quickly turning fish species from other topographic points has resulted in extinction of local species in many states.

Environmental pollution is a major subscriber to biodiversity loss in many states. It is already known that pesticide residues peculiarly originating from big graduated table usage of DDT for malaria control are responsible for decrease in population of many bird species and other beings. Air and H2O pollution put ecosystems under immense emphasis and cut down populations of sensitive species, particularly in coastal zones and wetlands. Rapid environmental alteration, such as the El Nino event, can besides hold important impacts on natural home grounds. Global heating and the attach toing clime alteration has been responsible for many species migrating northerly in hunt of ice chest clime and has caused decrease in species population. Extreme clime events such as high inundation and durable drouth have put huge emphasis on many species, both carnal and works, and biodiversity is affected. Huge forest fires such as the 1s happening in Indonesia a few old ages ago destroyed many species along with their home ground.

Table 4.4. Conservation position of trees

A Sl. No.


Number of tree species


Estimated universe sum

100A 000


Speciess assessed

10 091


Globally threatened

5 904

Critically Endangered



1 319


3 609




Note: 95 nonextant tree species includes 18 that still exist but non in the natural state. Beginning: WCMC Species Database, information available at hypertext transfer protocol: //wcmc/org/uk A

Although biodiversity is frequently talked approximately, there are small conjunct attempts to salvage biodiversity. Short-run and bit-by-bit economic, political and societal steps are less effectual in preservation of biodiversity. The steps are to be long-run, good planned and scientific ; these will hold to be built into all development activities. The states will hold to give equal attending to the steps suggested under such international conventions as the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD ) , Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention, etc.

The other of import step that every state should take is to carefully document biodiversity informations region-wise and keep a database with regular updating. This database will be really utile in national-level determination devising related to development planning and will be of huge usage to the scieniic community. International convention governments like CBD, CITES, RAMSAR, etc. , UN organisations like UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO, FAO, etc. , and International environmental and preservation groups like IUCN, WWF, Conservation International, etc. , could besides utilize the database for assorted intents. Such database exists already in some states and has been put to good usage.

The species diverseness worldwide has two typical forms: ( I ) the figure of species additions in a regular manner with the size of the home ground and ( two ) there are more species of workss and animate beings in tropical parts than in temperate and Polar Regions.

Most biodiversity informations are available for the tellurian ecosystems chiefly because of the deficiency of structural diverseness with regard to marine and freshwater flora. The major tellurian biomes of the universe include north-polar tundra, northern cone-bearing wood, temperate wood, tropical rain forest, tropical seasonal wood, temperate grassland, tropical savanna, grassland and chaparral, desert, Mediterranean flora and mountains.

Information about planetary biodiversity can be obtained from assorted beginnings. A few of the organisations that provide information in this respect are:

Bird Life International

Botanic Gardens Conservation International

Conservation International

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research

Convention on Biological Diversity

European Environment Agency

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

International Council of Scientific Unions

International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management

International Plant Genetic Resources Institute

International Species Information System

IUCN – The World Conservation Union

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Nature Conservancy

UNEP Global Resource Information Database

UNEP International Environmental Information System

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO

United Nations Statistical Division: UNSTAT

United States Geological Survey

Wetland International

World Conservation Monitoring Centre

World ‘s Vertebrates

The distribution of life on Earth has evolved through clip, clime, geographical parts, and interactions with other beings. Worlds have dominated all other animals and their demand and greed govern the manner the workd is run. Expansion of human activities has driven many species to extinction or near-extinction. For diversion and other intents, worlds have introduced species alien to a peculiar part ‘s clime and physical conditions therefore seeking to alter whole ecosystems. Worlds frequently do non acknowledge the being of 1000s of other species and think that they can be without the aid of other species. This line of thought has proved to be wholly erroneous today.


Fish constitute the oldest group of craniates that originated some 400 million old ages ago. There are known to be 24,600 fish species in the universe divided into 3 categories ( Fig. 4.2 ) : ( a ) jawless craniates ( lamper eels and slime eelss ) , with many features of the hereditary craniates, include about 80 species ; ( B ) Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fish ( sharks, beams, skates, and relations ) represented by about 830 species ; and ( degree Celsius ) Osteichthyes, or bony fishes ( perch, mudcat, bass, trout, and relations ) the most diverse group with around 23,700+ species. 58 % of the fish are merely marine despite the oceans covering 70 % of the Earth ‘s surface and incorporating 97 % of the Earth ‘s H2O. The remainder are fresh H2O species of the lakes and watercourses.


Amphibians, like toads, frogs, and salamanders, depend on H2O for reproduction but are otherwise quasi-terrestrial and unrecorded portion of their life on land. They are thought to hold descended from fish about 350 million old ages ago and today, their figure is estimated at about 9800 species.


Reptiles ( serpents, lizards, and polo-necks ) have evolved from their amphibious ascendants and are thought to be the first genuinely tellurian craniates. Some like the Marine tortoises are found in the sea. During the Mesozoic period ( 210-65 million old ages ago ) , the Dinosaurs were supposed to hold dominated the Earth. Today, it is estimated that there are about 6,300 species of reptilians.


Birds are thought to hold evolved from reptilian ascendants about 150 million old ages ago. There are now about 9,100 species of birds well-adapted for their mostly aerial being. A few species like ostriches, Rheas, etc. , nevertheless have lost their powers to wing and hold wholly adapted to tellurian being. The penguins, on the other manus, lead an aquatic life.


Worlds ( Homo sapiens ) and other mammals have arisen during the Triassic Period, over 200 million old ages ago. Mammals range from really little ( like termagants and house chiropterans weighing less than 4 g ) to really big animals ( the blue giant weighs over 160,000 kilograms ) . Mammals can be aerial ( chiropterans ) , marine ( giants, mahimahis, porpoises ) , and tellurian ( apes, monkeys, work forces ) . There are about 4 700 species of mammals in the universe.

Fig. 4.2. Examples of the diverseness of fish. On the upper right is a slime eels, which lacks jaws. Below the slime eels is a cowshark, a 4 m-long representative of the evolutionary line of cartilaginous fish. The evolutionary line of bony fish is represented by the Australian lungfish ( top centre ) , and walrus, moray eel, deep-sea goosefish, and Sacramento perch ( underside, left to compensate ) .

Distribution of Vertebrates

There seems to be an interesting tendency of distribution of the craniates over the Earth. It is seen that species diverseness is highest near the equator and lowest near the poles. This latitudinal form was recognized by Wallace in every bit early as 1876. The polar part, dwelling of countries greater than 67o ( north and south ) latitudes, the temperate part, between 23o and 67o ( north and south ) latitudes ; and the tropical part, between the equator and 23o ( north and south ) latitude show distinguishable forms of species distribution.

Vertebrates of the Polar Regions

The polar part consisting of the north-polar and the continent of Antarctica are highly cold, windswept, and inhospitable. Much of the land in the Arctic is covered with flora, traversed by rivers, and dotted with lakes and pools. Even so, the animate beings have to bear the brunt of the long north-polar winter, and have to accommodate to the sub-freezing temperatures in entire darkness for several months. It is really hard to happen nutrient and for endurance, they should be able to last for months without eating. It is obvious that really few animate beings can last the drastic conditions. As a consequence, most of the craniates populating in the polar part ( chiefly the Arctic ) are migratory in nature, and whenever they find the conditions to be highly unfavorable, they merely move to warmer parts.

A requirement for endurance in the utmost winter at high latitudes is the capacity to modulate organic structure temperature alog with alterations in season, because if such self-regulation is non possible, the species can non last in the freeze cold. It is for this ground that reptiles and amphibious vehicles are non found in the polar part. Since many fish species have good adaptability to temperature extremes, marine fish are abundant in the Polar Regions. The tautog is a really good illustration of true adaptability. It is a little ( up to 20 centimeter ) fat fish that lives in shallow H2O. This fish can last for long periods even under partly frozen conditions.

The full Arctic Marine fish fauna consist of about 125 species, a big figure of these species are besides found at lower latitudes bespeaking that the species are non endemic to the Arctic. The Antarctic, on the other manus, has approximately 100 species of marine fish and more than 90 % of them are endemic. In the brief polar summer, nutrient beings become abundant and the little figure of species becomes abundant. During the summer, the giants come to the Polar Regions in hunt of nutrient but leave rapidly with the oncoming of the winter.

The Antarctic is much known for the penguins. Penguins, nevertheless, are non restricted to the polar part entirely ; the Galapagos penguin is found at the equator. The Arctic is non known for any peculiar group of birds, but migratory species find impermanent home ground in the north-polar and strain at that place.

Similarly to the birds, no household of mammals is found to be endemic to the north-polar countries and no tellurian mammal is besides known to populate the Antarctic. However, tellurian species like the musk ox, polar bear, and north-polar hare ( all entirely north-polar ) and marine mammals such as the seahorse, hausen, and narwhal ( in the Arctic ) and Weddell, crab feeder, and leopard seal ( in the Antarctic ) are good known.

Vertebrates of the Temperate Regions

The temperate zones ( between 23o and 67o latitudes, in both northern and southern hemispheres ) have a big figure of endemic species. For illustration, the Mississippi-Missouri River system entirely has about 300 fresh water fish species endemic to the country. Similarly, Europe along with former Soviet Russia can tout of approximately 420 endemic species of fresh water fish.

Amphibians, who can non digest the utmost conditions of the north-polar, are copiously present in the temperate part. Reptiles ( lizards and serpents ) besides have more species in the temperate latitudes. Most of the universe ‘s comeuppances exist between 15o and 30o latitudes, and hence, in these latitudes, species diverseness is somewhat less.

Very big figure of bird species can be found in the temperate parts. For illustration, at least 88 bird species can be found in the Labrador Peninsula of northern Canada ( 55o N. ) , 176 species in Maine ( 45o N. ) , and more than 300 species in Texas ( 31o N. ) The entire figure of bird species in California exceeds 540 ; the sum for all of North America is approximately 700.

The mammalian distribution is affected by land lift and it is found that cragged parts have more species of mammals than low lying lands.

Vertebrates of the Tropical Regions

The greatest diverseness of life can be observed in the tropical parts, between 23o north and 23o south latitudes. The tropics seaport at least 75 % of all species ( workss, animate beings, micro-organisms ) . However, differences exist with regard to species diverseness in the tropical parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.

The tropical part of Africa is covered by the great Sahara desert spread over 7,770,000 square kilometres covering about 25 % of the continent. The desert is really much inhospitable to different species of animate beings and workss. The west cardinal portion of Africa is the Rain forest country covering less than 9 % of the continent supplying a home ground to the species found usually in a rain wood.

The Torrid Zones in Asia consist largely of low land rain woods. The Southeast Asia is full of islands which isolate populations of species and facilitate formation of new species. The Torrid Zones of Central and South America consist of lowland moisture and dry woods and ecosystems that scope from high-elevation shrublands ( paramo ) to grasslands ( puna ) . Rain forest screens about 32 % and savanna about 38 % of the South American continent.

The tropical Waterss contain the maximal figure of fish species. In instance of the Marine species, it is found that approximately 30-40 % of all marine fish species are associated with tropical reefs. A individual big reef may back up every bit many as 2,200 species. Similarly a big river system may be a home ground to a really big figure of fish species.

The amphibious vehicles besides have their greatest diverseness in the tropical part because they can travel from H2O to land and vice-versa easil due to little differences in temperature.

Bird diverseness is the highest in the rain woods of the South American Torrid Zones. Here, every bit many as 86 households and over 2,700 species of birds are known to be. A bantam Cardinal American state, Costa Rica ( 50,700 km2 ) claims to hold over 750 species of birds and Colombia has good over 1,500.

A big figure of Mammalian species are besides to be found in the Torrid Zones. For illustration, Venezuela has 304 species, Bolivia 327 species, East Africa 351 species, and Zaire ( cardinal Africa ) 427 species. Much of this addition in diverseness is due to the Chiroptera chiropterans.

4.5. Biodiversity at national degree

The Asia and the Pacific parts include parts of three of the universe ‘s eight biogeographic divisions, viz. the Palaearctic, Indo-Malayan and Oceanian kingdom. The part has the universe ‘s highest mountain system ( Himalayas ) , the 2nd largest rain wood and more than half the universe ‘s coral reefs. The Southeasterly Asiatic sub-region is noted as the Centre of diverseness of wild and domestic cereals and fruit species.

Of the 12 ‘mega-diverse ‘ states, four are in this part, viz. Australia, China, Indonesia and Malaysia. China is graded 3rd in the universe for biodiversity with more than 30000 species of advanced workss and 6347 sorts of craniates, stand foring 10 and 14 per cent severally of the universe sum. Australia has an estimated one million species of which about 85 per cent of blooming workss, 84 per cent of mammals, more than 45 per cent of birds, 89 per cent of reptilians, 93 per cent of toads and 85 per cent of inshore, temperate-zone fish are endemic.

The rich biological resources of the part have long been exploited for international trade and to prolong the turning population. The direct harvest home and export of natural merchandises, peculiarly lumber and fish, the enlargement of agribusiness into primary woods, wetlands and grasslands, and the replacing of traditional native harvests with high-yielding alien species are holding inauspicious effects on the biodiversity. The menaces to biodiversity have increased due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, both responsible for destructing natural home grounds of species. Pollution of H2O, air, and dirt, excavation activities, touristry and related recreational programmes have created farther environmental emphasis. Forced debut of new and alien species, runing, illegal trade in endangered species and their parts ( for illustration, rhino horn ) and the deficiency of proper direction patterns have taken their toll. In the past decennary, demand on biological resources increased aggressively due to rapid economic and population growing.

Habitat atomization and devastation due to deforestation in an unprecedented graduated table has non merely caused a loss of biodiversity, it has created other types of jobs as good. Thus, depletion of forest screen in Southeast Asia has resulted in disappearing of a broad assortment of wood merchandises used for nutrient, medical specialty and fresh fish. This has direct impact on the economic system of the autochthonal people.

With the coming of high-yielding species of harvests such as rice, and besides usage of modern tools, equipments, fertilisers, other chemicals in agribusiness, the figure of species being cultivated has come down drastically. Therefore, being a rice-growing state traditionally, every bit many as 30000 varities of rice are known. However, India now gets 75 per cent of its rice end product from merely 10 assortments. Many varities have already been lost and the familial diverseness of rice harvest is earnestly threatened.

Hunting, poaching and illegal trade in endangered species are major challenges to biodiversity in India. Tiger and many other carnal species have become threatened. Illegal harvest home and trade in medicative workss has besides become a major job.

Commercial fishing, with the aid of fish toxicant and blasts, has depleted fish resources in lakes, rivers and coastal seas. Pollution from industries every bit good as solid waste dumping has damaged the engendering evidences of fish and other aquatic species. The Rhizophora mangles in the seashores have about disappeared along with rich aquatic life.

It is estimated that about two-thirds of Asiatic wildlife home grounds have already been destroyed and 70 per cent of the major flora types in the Indo-Malayan countries ( South Asia, the Mekong basin and Southeast Asia ) have been lost, with a possible associated loss of up to 15 per cent of tellurian species. Dry and moist woods have suffered 73 and 69 per cent losingss severally, and wetlands, fen and Rhizophora mangles have been reduced in extent by 55 per cent. Overall home ground losingss have been most acute in the Indian sub-continent, China, Viet Nam and Thailand.

Many species are threatened. Of the 640 species listed for protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES ) , 156 are found in China and about 15 to 20 per cent of the state ‘s zoology and vegetation species are endangered.

In the Southeast Asia, no state has a complete listing of species. As a consequence, the extent and the importance of biodiversity are ill understood, and development programmes frequently ignore this of import facet.

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