The variety of living things, including those in aquatic, marine, and terrestrial habitats, is known as biodiversity. It has to do with the variety of living things that inhabit the planet, including the variety found within and between species as well as within and between the ecosystems they compose. It offers ecological, economic, and social functions, and it is crucial to keeping the balance between various species. India contains six major biodiversity hotspots and a lot of endangered plants and animals.
What does Biodiversity mean?
The overall quantity and variety of species in a certain area or region is referred to as the region’s biodiversity. It covers diversity within and between species as well as diversity in the ecosystem. The two main parts of biodiversity are species richness and species evenness. Whittaker carried out the biodiversity measurement.
- Species Richness: Species richness refers to the variety of species found in a population. Alpha diversity, beta diversity, and gamma diversity are its three subtypes.
- Species Evenness – The measure of species proportion at a particular site is species evenness.
Types of Biodiversity in India
Here’s 3 main types of Biodiversity in India:
- Genetic Diversity (Diversity within species)
- Species Diversity (Diversity between species)
- Ecosystem Diversity (Diversity between ecosystem)
A single species’ individuals are all genetically unique from one another. Genetic diversity refers to the genetic diversity among any species of plant or animal. Two people who are connected closely share more genetic information and are therefore more similar.
The variety of species found in a given area or environment is referred to as species diversity. Both the natural ecosystem and the agricultural ecosystem include this kind of diversity.
Tropical regions are home to more than 85,000 kinds of blooming plants. There are more than 50,000 blooming plant species in North and South America, tropical and subtropical Asia, and only 35,000 flowering plant species in tropical and subtropical Africa. But there are about 11,300 vascular plants in Europe. Additionally, fewer species can be found in other places like dirty streams or salt flats.
There is a wide range of various ecosystems, each with unique species. This ecosystem differs from one another depending on the habitats and species present. You can find this ecosystem diversity in a particular geographic area, a nation, or a state. Along with these other types of diversity, mountains, deserts, and grasslands are present.
Biodiversity Hotspots in India
India has six hotspots of biodiversity out of the 36 biodiversity hotspots, making it a country rich in biodiversity. With a great array of flora and animals in India (including endangered species). The Himalayas, the Indo-Burma region, the Terrai-duar Savannah, the Western Ghats, Sundaland, and the Sunderbans are among India’s hotspots for biodiversity. India’s Sunderbans is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The following is a detailed summary of India’s Hotspots for Biodiversity-
One of the main Indian hotspots is the Eastern Himalayas. It encompasses the regions of Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. It has an evergreen forest with oak and alpine trees in it. The wildlife includes the fascinating western tragopan, clouded leopard, slow loris, snow cock, heron, tiger, white-winged wood duck, and Indian civet.
The Terrai-duar Savannah extends to the Indo Gangetic plain of Bhutan, Nepal, and India after forming a brief sliver at the foot of the Himalayas. The Terrai-duar Savannah is home to some of the tallest, richest slits, and rarest grasslands in the entire globe. These perforations are left behind by powerful monsoon floods each year. The one-horned rhinoceros, sloth bears, Asian elephants, and many more animals are among the Terrai-duar Savannah’s most notable wildlife.
One of India’s largest hotspots is the Indo-Burma region. The Ganga plains, parts of the Andaman and Nicobar Island, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, the Brahmaputra river basin, and other areas are also affected. Numerous plant and animal species, like the Annamite muntjac and grey-crowned crocias, can be found there, making it one of the most endangered places. But the region needs legislative protection due to growing dangers from humans.
In the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta, there are 104 islands collectively known as the Sunderbans. With the largest mangrove forest in the world, Sunderbans is one of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Royal Bengal tigers live there. Along with Gangetic dolphins and estuarine crocodiles, as well as several other fish, animal, and bird species, it is home to Royal Bengal tigers. But today, the rise in sea level brought on by global warming poses a serious threat to the local species.
The Nicobar Islands are home to India’s Sundaland hotspot, which reaches the tectonic plates beneath the Indian Ocean. Probscis monkeys, Javan and Sumatran rhinoceros, pig-tailed langurs, and orangutans are among the animals that call it home. Only the probosci’s monkeys of this group are present in the Borneo region. Additionally, the Sundaland hotspot is home to the rafflesia, the largest bloom in the world (it measures one metres long).
Beyond India’s west coast, the Western Ghats extends from north to south. With numerous highland tropical rainforests, it is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A wide range of animals and plants can be found in these forests. Tigers, black panthers, and leopards are all part of it. The endangered shy lion-tailed macaques are part of the fauna in the southern Western Ghats. The strange pig-nosed purple frog is seen in the Western Ghats during monsoon season. In the dense forests, new species are continuously being found.
Importance of Biodiversity
The ecological balance of the ecosystem is significantly maintained by biodiversity. It performs a crucial ecological, economic, and scientific role. The significance of biodiversity can be summed up as follows:-
There will be a better possibility for a species to survive threats and adversity if the habitat is diversified. As a result, it helps to protect species and keep the ecological equilibrium. By absorbing and storing energy, creating and digesting organic material, adding to the water cycle, and controlling the climate, it plays a crucial role in ensuring human survival.
A resource that is vital to daily existence is biodiversity, particularly agro biodiversity. It is important for growing food crops, livestock, fish, and other initial materials for cosmetics, food production, and medicinal resources.
The species, whether extinct or still existing, aids in comprehending the idea of evolution. It aids in comprehending the function and role carried out by a species in a specific ecosystem and demonstrating their various relationships.
In addition to these responsibilities, maintaining the food web, pollination, nutrient cycling, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, soil formation, etc.
Threats to Biodiversity
Changes to our land- and water-use
Numerous diverse ecosystems exist on our land and in our oceans, and business activities have an impact on these ecosystems. For instance, when construction companies drain and fill in wetlands or marshes to make place for housing, they remove the area that normally collects extra rainwater during storms.
Excessive consumption and unsustainable exploitation
While logging, farming, and fishing can all be done responsibly, they frequently involve overusing resources. The entire web of life in an area can disintegrate if too many species, or even just a few significant species, are removed from the ecosystem..
Already, we are experiencing hotter weather, warmer oceans, and more extreme storms. Since many animals can’t adapt to these circumstances, their populations plummet.
Increase in pollution
For many ecosystems, pollution of the air, soil, and water is a major issue. Fish, birds, and other marine creatures accumulate tiny plastic particles that are suspended in the ocean’s water. Many species in rivers and lakes are wiped out by industrial poisons. The soil, leaves, and water are all contaminated by air pollution. Less species, less diversity, and weaker ecosystems are the end results of all of this.
Global trade transports species from their native ecosystems to other regions of the world, where they frequently lack predators to control their population growth. As a result of climate change, harmful species like mosquitoes that spread disease can flourish in new latitudes. Aliens frequently seriously upset the balance of their new environments.
Conservation of Biodiversity
The ecosystem and natural habitats must be preserved, protected, and managed as part of the conservation of biodiversity. Conservation of biodiversity comes in two flavors-
In-situ conservation is the preservation of biodiversity in its native habitat. As an illustration, consider sanctuaries, national parks, protected forests, and biosphere reserves. In-situ conservation’s main objectives include:
- Supporting the preservation, repair, and long-term administration of the protected region.
- Creation of plans for the preservation of the local biodiversity.
- Establishing natural arteries to connect regions of biological significance in order to stop further habitat fragmentation.
- The introduction of laws to safeguard the species.
- The sharing of knowledge, instruction, and creation of consciousness.
- Promoting eco-friendly travel in sensitive areas.
Ex-situ conservation refers to the preservation of biodiversity outside of its natural habitat. Examples include DNA repositories, cryopreservation, zoological parks, wildlife safari parks, botanical gardens, seed banks, sperm banks, and collections of living organisms for scientific research and development.
Importance of Biodiversity
- Protection of water resources-It protects against extreme events like floods and droughts by regulating and stabilizing water runoff and maintaining the hydrological cycles.
- Soil protection- It will support soil preservation and moisture and nutrient retention.
- Nutrient storage and cycling-It will support the ecosystem’s ability to recycle nutrients contained in the soil and the atmosphere.
- Pollution reduction-It is crucial for maintaining the gaseous makeup of the environment, breaking down waste, and getting rid of contaminants.
- Climate stability-Through both macro and micro-level vegetation, it stabilizes the climate.
- Maintenance of ecological process-It will support the preservation of the food chain, which is a logical succession of living things through which nutrients and energy are transferred when one organism consumes another.
- Species of plants used as food, fibre, medicines, fuel, and ornamentals
- Breeding material for crop improvement- Genes from wild cousins of domesticated crop plants are extremely helpful for crop development program.
- Future resources-The preservation of biological diversity and the development of new biological resources are closely related because local knowledge of the usage of wild plants serves as a fertile ground for new plant product ideas.
- Recreation-The best locations for ecotourism, photography, painting, filmmaking, and literary works are in forests, wildlife, national parks, biosphere reserves, and sanctuaries.
- Cultural values- Species of plants and animals play a significant role in human culture. It exists in parallel because different communities can each develop a unique cultural identity through their environment and biological variety. Consider the Bishnoi Community. Plants considered sacred and venerated include Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Peepal (Ficus religiosa), and Khejri (Prosopis cineraria).
Biodiversity Act 2002
India’s efforts to achieve the objectives of the 1992 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which acknowledges states’ sovereign rights to manage their own biological resources, gave rise to the Biological Diversity Act of 2002.
The 2002 law aims to safeguard biological resources, manage their sustainable use, and facilitate a just and equitable transfer of benefits deriving from their use and knowledge among the local inhabitants. The Act’s broad goals include preserving and regulating the appropriate use of biological diversity’s components and ensuring equitable distribution of the benefits resulting from such use.
The aforementioned objectives of the Act include safeguarding traditional knowledge, avoiding biopiracy, prohibiting anyone from getting patents without official approval, and more. In accordance with this Act’s Section 8, Subsections (1) and (3), a National Biodiversity Authority would be established in Chennai.
Biological Diversity Act, 2002 Objectives
By maintaining and regulating the appropriate use of its components and guaranteeing fair distribution of the benefits gained from such usage, the Act aims to conserve biological variety. The Act’s claimed objectives include safeguarding traditional knowledge, fighting biopiracy, forbidding individuals from obtaining patents without the consent of the government, and more.
The development of national plans and program for biodiversity conservation, the power granted to state governments to notify and preserve biodiversity areas, and the central government’s authority to notify species that are gravely endangered, on the verge of extinction, threatened species, and prohibited species are some of the aspects of the goal of aiming to conserve biological diversity.
While regularizing the use of natural resources rather than depleting them would constitute sustainable usage of its component. The benefit-sharing provision aims to establish equitable benefit-sharing from accessing biological resources, byproducts, knowledge, and practice in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth by the party requesting such benefits and the relevant local bodies.
Q What are the 3 types of biodiversity?
Ans. Genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity are the typical three levels of biodiversity that are covered. The various genes that each unique plant, animal, fungus, and bacterium have constitute genetic variety. It happens both within and between species.
Q What is biodiversity and examples?
Ans. The diversity of living organisms on Earth, including plants, animals, microbes, and fungi, is referred to as biodiversity.
Q What is biodiversity and why it is important?
Ans. The systems that sustain all life on Earth, including humans, depend on biodiversity. We cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we depend on to give us the air we breathe and the food we consume without a diverse variety of animals, plants, and microorganisms. People also appreciate nature in and of itself.
Q What 3 things define biodiversity?
Ans. Genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecological diversity are the three main levels at which biodiversity are typically investigated. The complexity of life on Earth is a result of the interaction of these three levels.
Q What causes biodiversity?
Ans. Temperature, height, precipitation, soils, and their interactions with other species are a few of the many variables that affect biodiversity. For instance, the biodiversity of the oceans is 25 times lower than that of the land. Moving from the tropics to the poles, biodiversity likewise changes shape.
Other Indian Geography Topics
Other Fundamental Geography Topics