Biodiversity and its conservation. Contd … Part 2. Biodiversity and its conservation Value of biodiversity India as a mega diverse nation Threats to biodiversity Conservation to biodiversity. Value to Biodiversity. Consumptive use value.
Biodiversity and its conservation Contd… Part 2
Biodiversity and its conservation • Value of biodiversity • India as a mega diverse nation • Threats to biodiversity • Conservation to biodiversity
Consumptive use value • Direct utilization of timber, food, fuel, wood and fodder by communities. • Biodiversity contained in the ecosystem provides forest dwellers with food, building material, fodder, medicines etc. • Fisherfolk, completely dependent on fish and know where and how to catch fish and other edible aquatic animals and plants.
Productive use value • Comprises of marketable goods. • Prospect and search for potential genetic properties in plants or animals • Used to develop better varieties of crops for use in farming and plantation programs or to develop better livestock. • To pharmacists, biological diversity is the raw material from which new drugs can be identified from plant or animal products. • To industrialists, biodiversity is a rich storehouse from which to develop new products. • To agricultural scientists, biodiversity in the wild relatives of crop plants is the basis for developing better crops. • Helps in selective development of better crops and domestic animals through careful breeding programs; Done by genetic engineering – selecting genes from one plant and introducing them into another.
Social values • Traditional societies had a smaller population; reqd less resources; preserved their biodiversity as a life-supporting resource • Modern man has rapidly depleted it; irrecoverable loss due to extinction of several species. • More and more resources, used by affluent societies. • Consumptive & productive value of biodiversity is closely linked to social concerns in traditional communities. • ‘Ecosystem people’ value biodiversity as part of their livelihood through cultural and religious sentiments.
Many crops, cultivated in traditional agricultural systems; permitted a wide range of produce to be grown and marketed throughout the year • Acted as an insurance against the failure of one crop. • Today, farmers receive economic incentives to grow cash crops for national or international markets, rather than to supply local needs. • Leads to local food shortages, unemployment (cash crops are usually mechanized), landlessness, and increased vulnerability to drought and floods.
Ethical and Moral values • Based on importance of protecting all forms of life. • Most religious and secular creeds: “All forms of life have the right to exist on Earth. Man is only a small part of the Earth’s great family of species; plants and animals have an equal right to live and exist on our planet.” • Indian civilization has, over several generations, preserved nature through Local traditions. • In India, a large number of sacred groves or ‘deorais’ preserved by tribal people in several states. • Around ancient sacred sites and temples act as gene banks for wild plants. • http://edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/forestry/groves.htm
Aesthetic value • Biodiversity is a beautiful and wonderful aspect of nature. • The appreciation of the presence of biodiversity for its inherent value and beauty. • It is important as a tourist attraction. • In India, particularly, our history and culture is replete with plant and animal imagery. • Symbols from wild species such as the lion of Hinduism, the elephant of Buddhism, and deities such as Lord Ganesh, and the vehicles of several deities that are animals, have been venerated for thousands of years. • The sage Valmiki begins his epic story with a couplet on the unfortunate killing of a crane by a hunter. • The sacred Basil or the ‘Tulsi’ has grown in the courtyards of each household for centuries.
Option value • Keeping future possibilities open for their use. • Impossible to predict which of our species or traditional varieties of crops / animals will be of greatest use in the future. • To continue to improve cultivars and domestic livestock, we need to return to wild relatives of crop plants and animals. • Thus, the preservation of biodiversity must also include traditionally-used strains already in existence in crops and domestic animals.
Varied landforms and climates • Tropical rainforests to Alpine vegetation • Temperate forests to coastal wetlands • 2% of Earth’s surface • 8% of the world’s biodiversity • One of the 12 megadiversity nations • One of the world’s 8 centres of origin of cultivated plants. • 12 biosphere reserves, World heritage sites and 6 Ramsar wetlands, amongst the protected areas.
Assam • Kaziranga National Park • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary • Bihar • Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodh Gaya • Delhi • Humayun's Tomb • QutubMinar and its monuments • Red Fort • Goa • Basilica of Bom Jesus
Gujarat • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park • Karnataka • Group of Monuments at Hampi • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal • Madhya Pradesh • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka • Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Maharashtra • Ajanta Caves • ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus, Mumbai • Elephanta Caves, Mumbai • Ellora Caves • Orissa • Konark Sun Temple, Konark • Rajasthan • Keoladeo National Park • Tamil Nadu • Great Living Chola Temples • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram • Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Uttar Pradesh • Agra Fort, Agra • FatehpurSikri, Uttar Pradesh • TajMahal, Agra • Uttarakhand • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park • West Bengal • Mountain Railways of India, Darjeeling • Sundarbans National Park
On the basis of temperature, the Indian landmass can be broadly classified into 4 zones: • Tropical Zone: Very hot round the year; no winter • Subtropical Zone: Hot round the year; cool winter • Temperate Zone: Warm summer; pronounced winter • Alpine (Arctic) Zone: Short summer; long & severe winter
Some important facts about Indian biodiversity • Home to 33% of the life forms in the world • Divided into 10 biogeographic zones and 26 biotic provinces, representing all the major ecosystems of the world. • 33 botanical gardens, 89 national parks, 275 zoos, 504 sanctuaries and 12 biosphere reserves • 60% of the above concentrated in Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot.
India has • 81000 animal species • 350 different mammals (eighth highest in the world) • 453 species of reptiles (fifth in the world) • 1,200 species of birds (eighth in the world), • 47,000 plant species (fifteenth in the world). • Including ferns (1022 species) and orchids (1082 species). • 50,000 known species of insects, including 13,000 butterflies and moths. • 62% of amphibians are unique to India • Among lizards, of the 153 species recorded, 50% are endemic.
Gene-banks have collected over 34,000 cereals and 22,000 pulses grown in India. • India has 27 indigenous breeds of cattle, 40 breeds of sheep, 22 breeds of goats and 8 breeds of buffaloes. • Many of these today have died out or are dying out due to our misguided adoption of all ‘foreign’ species. • Jerseys and Holsteins have replaced Indian cattle like the Brahma bull • High-yielding cultivars have eaten away into centuries old landraces of crops. • Cash crops have replaced food crops: eucalyptus and wattle (acacia) plantations have replaced the mixed shola forests.
India has 2 major realms • Palaeartic • Indo-Malayan • India has three biomass zones • Tropical humid forests • Tropical dry / deciduous forests • Warm deserts / Dry deserts
India, a signatory to international conventions like Convention of International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) and Convention of Migratory Species (CMS), aiming at conserving biodiversity
Geological events in the landmass of India provided conditions for high levels of biological diversity. • A split in the single giant continent around 70 million years ago, led to the formation of northern and southern continents, with India as part of Gondwanaland—the Southern landmass, together with Africa, Australia and the Antarctic. • Tectonic movements shifted India northward across the equator to join the Northern Eurasian continent. • Plants and animals that had evolved in Europe, Africa and Far East migrated into India before the Himalayas had formed. • India’s special geographical position or ‘niche’ between three distinctive centres of biological evolution and radiation of species is responsible for our rich and varied biodiversity.
Average rate of extinction over the past 200 my is 1-2 species per year, and 3-4 families per my. • Average duration of a species is 2-10 million years (based on last 200 my). • Occasional episodes of mass extinction, when many taxa representing a wide array of lifeforms have gone extinct in the same blink of geological time.
The main factors that threaten species and ecosystems
1. Over-hunting • A significant cause of the extinction of hundreds of species and the endangerment of many more, such as whales and many African large mammals. • Mainly due to over-harvesting for food, fashion, and profit. • Commercial hunting, both legal and illegal (poaching), is the principal threat. • Eg. Snowy egret, passenger pigeon, heath hen • At $16,000 per pound, and $40,000 to $100,000 per horn of rhino • Pet and decorative plant trade
2.Habitat loss/degradation/fragmentation • As deforestation proceeds in tropical forests, this is THE cause of mass extinctions caused by human activity. • All species have specific food and habitat needs. • The more specific these needs and localized the habitat, the greater the vulnerability of species to loss of habitat • Habitat damage, especially the conversion of forested land to agriculture has a long human history. • Began in China about 4,000 years ago. • Largely completed in Europe by about 400 years ago • Swept across USA over the past 200 years or so. • Now, we are mopping up the last forests of Pacific Northwest. • Tropical forests are so important because they harbor at least 50%, and perhaps more, of world's biodiversity. • Original extent of tropical rain forests was 15 million km2. Now there remains about 7.5-8 million km2. • Current rate of loss is estimated at near 2% annually (100,000 km2 destroyed, another 100,000 km2 degraded). • Tropical forests will be reduced to 10-25% of their original extent by late 21st C.
Habitat fragmentation • A further aspect of habitat loss. • The forest, meadow, etc that remains generally is in small, isolated bits rather than in large, intact units. • Each is a tiny island that can maintain a very small population. • Environmental fluctuations, disease make such small isolates highly vulnerable to extinction. • Species that require a large home range, such as a grizzly bear, will not survive if the area is too small. • Small land units are strongly affected by their surroundings, in terms of climate, dispersing species, etc. • So, the ecology of a small isolate may differ from that of a similar ecosystem on a larger scale.
3. Invasion of non-native species • African Great Lakes - Victoria, Malawi and Tanganyika - famous for their great diversity of endemic species, termed "species flocks", of cichlid fishes. • In Lake Victoria, a single, exotic species, the Nile Perch, has become established and may cause the extinction of most of the native species, by simply eating them all.
The seeds of the tree Calvaria major must pass through the abrasive gut of a large animal in order to germinate. • Their tough seed coats are protection against digestion, but also a kind of living coffin, for the seed can not germinate unless abraded. • None of the animals currently on Mauritius have that ability. • The dodo (a 25 kg pigeon), hunted to extinction in the late 17th century, probably was the key to recruitment in this species. • Some seeds, abraded, roughened, and excreted by dodos, germinated and grew. • Today, no seeds germinate, and only a few very old trees now survive.
Blackfooted ferret was once very abundant in the western prairies. • They prey upon prairie dogs and used their burrows to nest in. • Poisoning of prairie dogs has greatly reduced their abundance, and so, • Blackfooted ferret is now the rarest mammal in North America
4. Pollution • Chemical contaminants poses a threat to species and ecosystems. • While not commonly a cause of extinction, it likely can be for species whose range is extremely small, and threatened by contamination. • Several species of desert pupfish, occurring in small isolated pools in the US southwest, are examples.
5. Climate change: • A changing global climate threatens species and ecosystems. • The distribution of species (biogeography) is largely determined by climate, as is the distribution of ecosystems and plant vegetation zones (biomes). • Climate change may simply shift these distributions but, for a number of reasons, plants and animals may not be able to adjust. • The pace of climate change almost certainly will be more rapid than most plants are able to migrate. • The presence of roads, cities, etc, associated with human presence may provide no opportunity for distributional shifts. • For these reasons, some species and ecosystems are likely to be eliminated by climate change. Agricultural production likely will show regional variation in gains and losses, depending upon crop and climate. • As a consequence of these multiple forces, many scientists fear that by end of next century, perhaps 25% of existing species will be lost.
6. Domino effects • Domino effects occur when the removal of one species (an extinction event) or the addition of one species (an invasion event) affects the entire biological system. • Domino effects are especially likely when two or more species are highly interdependent, or when the affected species is a "keystone" species, meaning that it has strong connections to many other species. • A keystone species is one whose influence on others is disproportionately great. • A study of marine invertebrates in rocky intertidal region of Washington found that the top predator, a starfish, facilitated the coexistence of many invertebrates by selectively consuming mussels, which otherwise would crowd out other organisms. • Thus a keystone species is one whose presence or absence both directly and indirectly influences other species through food web connectivity.
7. Accelerating transformation of the earth by a growing human population. • As the human population passes the six billion mark, we have transformed, degraded or destroyed roughly 50% of the word's forests. • We appropriate roughly half of the world's net primary productivity for human use. • We appropriate most available fresh water. • We harvest virtually all of the available productivity of the oceans. • Little wonder, species are disappearing and ecosystems are being destroyed.
In-situ conservation • Conservation of a species, best done by protecting its habitat along with all the other species that live in it in nature. • Conserving a species in its own environment. • By creating national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, with each distinctive ecosystem included in the network. • By setting aside an adequate representation of wilderness as “Protected Areas”. • Preserves the total diversity of life of a region.
Preservation of relatively intact natural ecosystems, where biological diversity - from microscopic unicellular plants and animals, to the giant trees and large mammals - can all be preserved. • As rare endemic species are found only in a small area, it easily becomes extinct due to human activity. Such areas must be given an added importance as their biodiversity is a special feature of the region. • Animals such as elephants require different types of habitat to feed in during different seasons. • Use open grasslands after the rains when young grass shoots are highly nutritious. • As grasses dry, they move into forest to feed on foliage from the trees. • The PA that is to protect elephants, must, therefore, be large enough and include diverse habitat types to support a complete complement.
Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of India: • There are 589 Protected Areas in India, of which 89 are national parks and 500 are wildlife sanctuaries. • The Great Himalayan National Park • The largest sanctuary in this ecosystem • The last homes of the beautiful snow Leopard. • The Dachigam Sanctuary • The only place where the rare Hangul or Kashmir stag is found. • The Kaziranga National Park (in the Terai region) • Famous for elephant, gaur, wild boar, swamp deer, and hog deer • Also, tigers and leopards. • Bird life: Extremely rich and includes ducks, geese, pelicans and storks. • The Manas Sanctuary • In addition to Terai species, also includes golden langur and pygmy hog, the smallest wild boar in the world. • Florican is found only in a few undisturbed grasslands in the Terai sanctuaries. • Kanha National Park (in sal forests of MP) • Wild tigers from elephant back. • Only PA in which a sub-species of the barasingha is found.
Bharatpur Water-bird Sanctuary • Ducks, geese, herons, and other wading birds. • Only home of the very rare Siberian crane, which migrates to India every winter. • During the last 20 years, the 30 or 40 Siberian cranes have dwindled to only 2 or 3. • Desert National Park (in Thar Desert) • Blackbuck, nilgai and chinkara can be seen. • Great Indian Bustard lives in these arid lands. • Ranthambore Sanctuary • For observing tigers in the wild till about 3 or 4 years ago. • The Great and the Little Rann of Kutch Sanctuaries • Very rare wild ass, flamingo, star tortoise and desert fox. • Gir Sanctuary (in Gujarat) • Last population of the majestic Asiatic lion. • Chital, sambhar, and nilgai.
Sanctuaries of the Western Ghats • Indian elephant • Malabar giant squirrel, flying squirrel • Hill birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects. • Highly endemic plant life. • Bhimashankar, Koyana, Chandoli and Radhanagari – Maharashtra • Bandipur, Bhadra, Dandeli, Nagarhole – Karnataka • Eravikulam, Parambikulam, Periyar, and Silent Valley – Kerala • Nilgiri Hills: Mudumalai, Wynad and Bhadra. • Sanctuaries meant for preservation of coastal ecosystems • Chilka Lake in Orissa and Point Calimere in Tamil Nadu. • Sunderbans protect the largest mangrove delta in India. • Marine National Park in Gujarat protects shallow areas in the sea, islands, coral reefs and extensive mudflats. • > 100 PAs created in the Andamans