Release: Release date – 11:30 p.m., Thu – May 12 22
This article is a continuation of the previous articles covering various topics categorized as life sciences. This series of articles will help you to understand the topics under “biodiversity”.
As discussed in the previous article, the threats to biodiversity encompass four main causes (the evil quartet) for the accelerated extinction of species in the world: habitat loss and fragmentation, overexploitation, invasion of alien species, and simultaneous extinctions.
Let’s understand what co-extinctions are:
In an obligatory association between a plant and animals, when a plant goes extinct, the animal also goes extinct, as seen in a parasite-host association—if the host goes extinct, the parasite meets the same fate.
Another association that explains joint extinctions in plant-pollinator mutualism, where the extinction of one inevitably leads to the extinction of the other.
Now let’s move on to understand how biodiversity can be preserved to maintain the right balance.
conservation of biological diversity
Biodiversity conservation has become a global concern. Basically, there are two main types of conservation options: in situ conservation (on-site conservation) and ex situ conservation (off-site conservation).
In Situ Conservation (On-Site Conservation)
It is the process of protecting an animal species in its natural habitat. The benefit is that recovering populations are maintained in the environment in which they developed their distinctive traits. Conservationists have dubbed certain regions “biodiversity hotspots” for maximum protection, as they are characterized by very high species richness and high levels of endemism.
By definition, a “biodiversity hotspot” is a “biogeographical region” with a significant reservoir of biodiversity threatened with human extinction. They are the biologically richest and most threatened terrestrial ecoregions on earth.
The concept of biodiversity hotspots was proposed by Norman Myers. There are around 34 biodiversity hotspots worldwide. As these regions are threatened with destruction, habitat loss is accelerated.
Example: Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, Indo-Burma region and Himalayas in India. Ecologically unique and biodiversity-rich regions are protected by law, such as biosphere reserves – 18 (18th is Panna in MP), national parks – 90 and protected areas – 448.
Biosphere Reserves: A biosphere reserve is an area designated for the conservation of biosphere resources with minimal disturbance. The 17th biosphere in India are Seshachalam Hills. The newest biosphere reserve in India is “Panna” in Madhya Pradesh
National Parks: A national park is a natural habitat reserved solely for the protection of natural life. National parks across the country offer a fascinating variety of terrain, flora and fauna. Some important national parks in India are Jim Corbett National Park (the first national park in India), Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park (Telangana), Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park (Telangana) and Keolanda Ghana National Park (Rajasthan).
sanctuaries: Species, endangered animal species, are well protected in nature reserves that allow for ecotourism. Some important sanctuaries in India are Koringa Sanctuary (AP), Eturnagaram Sanctuary (Warangal District, Telangana) and Papikondalu Sanctuary (AP).
Sacred Groves: A smaller group of trees than a forest is called a grove. A grove of trees that have special religious significance for a particular culture is called a sacred grove. In these regions, all wildlife trees are revered and fully protected.
The following is a list of sacred grooves in India:
Khasi and Jaintia Hills – Meghalaya
Aravali Hills – Rajasthan and Gujarat
Western Ghats Region – Karnataka, Maharashtra
Ex Situ Conservation (Off Situ Conservation)
Endangered animals are taken out of their natural habit and placed in special environments where they are protected. This includes zoological parks.
Advances in ex situ conservation techniques such as cryopreservation are helping us protect endangered species. In vitro culture, gene banks are mostly used for plants.
IUCN Red Data Books: The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is the world’s foremost authority on the conservation status of species. All threatened species are listed in the Red Data Books published by the IUCN.
These species are classified into different categories based on their level of risk and are mainly: Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable.
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