G E M.
G E M
Oh, the beauty of a forest! The pleasure of walking through it, enjoying the smells of the flowers and the wild; watching the insects flitting about and listening to the birds chirp - how we all love it and wish to return to it again and again. It is this biodiversity that we have to protect and take care of in order to enjoy the joy of it all.
But what is biodiversity?
The variety of life on Earth,
Its biological diversity is
commonly referred to as
biodiversity. The number of
species of plants, animals,
the enormous diversity of
genes in these species, the different ecosystems on the planet, such as deserts, rainforests and coral reefs are all part of a biologically diverse Earth. Appropriate conservation and sustainable development strategies attempt to recognize this as being integral to any approach. Almost all cultures have in some way or form recognized the importance that nature, and its biological diversity has had upon them and the need to maintain it. Yet, power, greed and politics have affected the precarious balance.
A-4] Cultural importance:
Plants and animals are often used as symbols, for example in flags, paintings, sculptures, photographs, stamps, songs and legends.
Finally, biodiversity is also beautiful: it is a pleasure to see and smell flowers in a field, To listen to birds singing, etc.
B. CAUSES OF
The main cause of the loss of
biodiversity can be attributed to
the influence of human beings
on the world’s ecosystem, In fact
human beings have deeply
altered the environment, and have modified the territory,
exploiting the species directly, for example by fishing and hunting, changing the biogeochemical cycles and transferring species from one area to another of the Planet. The threats to biodiversity can be summarized in the following main points:
B-1] Alteration and loss of the habitats
The transformation of the natural areas determines not only the loss of the vegetable species, but also a decrease in the animal species associated to them.
B-2] Introduction of exotic species and genetically modified
originating from a
introduced into new
natural environments can lead to different forms of imbalance in the ecological equilibrium.
B-3] Pollution: human activity influences the natural environment producing negative, direct or indirect, effects that alter the flow of energy, the chemical and physical constitution of the environment and abundance of the species.
B-4] Climate change: for example, heating of the earth’s surface affects biodiversity because it endangers all the species that adapted to the cold due to the latitude (the Polar species) or the altitude (mountain species)
B-5] Overexploitation of
When the activities
connected with capturing
and harvesting (hunting,
fishing, farming) a Renewable natural resource in
a particular area is excessively intense, the resource itself may become exhausted, as for example, is the case of sardines, herrings, cod, tuna and many other species that man captures without leaving enough time for the organisms to reproduce.
B-6] Agriculture: The dramatic increase in the number of humans during the twentieth century has instigated a concomitant growth in agriculture, and has led to conversion of wild lands to croplands, massive diversions of water from lakes, rivers and underground aquifers, and, at the same time, has polluted water and land resources with pesticides, fertilizers, and animal wastes. The result has been the
destruction, disturbance or
disabling of terrestrial
ecosystems, and polluted,
atrophied water resources.
To prevent biodiversity loss, the Government of India is setting up biosphere reserves in different parts of the country. These are multipurpose protected areas to preserve the genetic diversity in different ecosystems. Till 1999, ten biosphere reserves had been set up, namely Nilgiri, Nandadevi, Nakrek, Great Nicobar, Gulf of Mannar, Manas, Sunderbans,
Similipal, and DibruSaikhowa.
A number of NGOs are being
involved in the programme to
create awareness. But legal
protection is provided only to
national parks and sanctuaries,
which cover about 4.5% of India’s
C. HOW CAN YOU HELP TO SAVE BIODIVERSITY
C-1] Purchase goods and services from companies that are environmentally responsible. Although you can't always believe marketing claims for "green" goods, a little internet research can often shed some light on the ethics of particular companies. Where possible, look for third-party certifications and labels. Organic, shade-grown (coffee) and fair-trade are some practices that are more likely to preserve biodiversity. When possible, purchase goods from responsible companies in your local area; this cuts down on the pollution generated in long-distance transportation.
C-2] Plant a garden
of native plants
around your home
or at your school.
In this way you can
help to preserve
plant species as well
as create habitat for
C-3] Maintain valuable wildlife habitat on your property, such as large trees, wetlands and natural shoreline.
C-4] Consider donating part of your land to a preservation agency, or placing a conservation covenant on your land to protect valuable natural areas from future development.
Reduce automobile pollution (one of the largest sources of
damage to species
and ecosystems) by
keeping your car
properly tuned and maintained and switching to a more efficient vehicle and so on.. Next…
INDIAN LAWS ON BIODIVERSITY
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ACT
A] What is covered by the Biological
The Act covers conservation, use of
Biological resources and associated
knowledge occurring in India for commercial or research purposes or for the purposes of bio-survey and bio-utilisation. It provides a framework for access to biological
resources and sharing the benefits arising out of such access and use. The Act also includes in its ambit the transfer of research results and application for intellectual property rights (IPRs) relating to Indian biological resources.
LET’S CONCLUDE AND REFLECT ON A QUOTE FROM
Robert Bateman, a Canadian artist, environmentalist, and naturalist
“I am a possibilist. I believe that humanity is master of its own fate... Before we can change direction, we have to question many of the assumptions underlying our current philosophy. Assumptions like bigger is better; you can't stop progress; no speed is too fast; globalization is good. Then we have to replace them with some different assumptions: small is beautiful; roots and traditions are worth preserving; variety is the spice of life; the only work worth doing is meaningful work; biodiversity is the necessary pre-condition for human survival”.
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