May 4, 2010
The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) is a year-long celebration of biological diversity and its value for life on Earth, taking place around the world in 2010.
To highlight the importance of biodiversity we have unfolded the story of life with pictures of animals, birds, rabbits and flying lizards so that it strikes a chord in ever man, woman, boy and girl. In our humble opinion, it is ever body’s business to protect biodiversity. The root of most apprehensions lies probably in the fact that biodiversity is meant only for the scientific world and the common citizen has nothing to do with it. This is not true. The involvement of the common citizen in safeguarding the earth’s riches is of vital importance. In the coming years we need to draw the attention of policy makers and planners to draw up a blue print to make conservation of biodiversity everybody’s business
The term BIODIVERSITY has a very significant meaning. BIO refers to LIVING and LOGY refers to the discourse of science. As such all living entities on planet earth have the right to live and carryout the tasks and functions assigned to them by nature. Biodiversity is an extremely important part of life on Earth. It provides the very foundations of our well being. Any species for that matter May it be; plant, animal or insect, have multiple roles to play in the food chain. This is evident from the fact that the productiveness of the global food chain is closely linked to the wellbeing of forests, oceans & wildlife. Most importantly, the interdependence of all living systems is the common denominator that binds us altogether.
Globally, only 34 biodiversity hot spots exist. India hosts three biodiversity hotspots: the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas, and the hilly ranges that straddle the India-Myanmar border. These hotspots are unique in the sense that they harbor exceptionally high number of rare and endangered species of both flora (vegetation) and fauna (insect). The combined area of these hotspots is just 2.3 % of the Earth’s land surface. Yet, each hotspot has lost almost 70 % of its natural vegetation. Over 50 percent of the world’s plant species and 42 percent of all terrestrial vertebrate species are endemic to the 34 biodiversity hotspots.
INDIA IN RELATION TO BIODIVERSITY:
India contains 172 species of animal considered globally threatened by IUCN, or 2.9% of the world's total number of threatened species. These include 53 species of mammal, 69 birds, 23 reptiles and 3 amphibians. India contains globally important populations of some of Asia's rarest animals, such as the Bengal Fox, Asiatic Cheetah, Marbled Cat, Asiatic Lion, Indian Elephant, Asiatic Wild Ass, Indian Rhinoceros, Markhor, Gaur, Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo etc.
The forests of India have been known to be one of the richest in terms of vegetation types and species diversity. India has a rich and varied heritage of biodiversity, encompassing a wide spectrum of habitats from tropical rainforests to alpine vegetation and from temperate forests to coastal wetlands. India contributes significantly to latitudinal biodiversity trend. With a mere 2.4% of the world's area, India accounts for 7.31% of the global faunal total with a faunal species count of 89,451 species.
India is one of the 12 centers of origin of cultivated plants. India has 5 world heritage sites, 12 biosphere reserves, and 6 Ramsar wetlands. Amongst the protected areas, India has 88 national parks and 490 sanctuaries covering an area of 1.53 lakh sq. km.
India's record in agro-biodiversity is equally impressive. There are 167 crop species and wild relatives. India is considered to be the centre of origin of 30,000-50,000 varieties of rice, pigeon-pea, mango, turmeric, ginger, sugarcane, gooseberries etc and ranks seventh in terms of contribution to world agriculture.
RATE OF EXTINCTION:
The RATE OF EXTINCTION OF SPECIES IN India Is the highest in the world.
About 200 species which were collected 100 years ago, have not been spotted in the recent past
1500 species listed by the Botanical survey of India are either extinct or on the verge of extinction.
Globally, only 1.9 million species have been identified, though the estimated number of species is thought to be somewhere between 10 and 20 million. For the first time scientists have put a figure on how much it would cost to learn about the conservation status of millions of species, some of which have yet to be identified. The price tag is US$60 million.
Why protect biodiversity
A stable biodiversity ecosystem has a number of tangible benefits like cleaning up of air from toxic fumes, production of oxygen and regulation of carbon dioxide, purification of water systems, and creation of a self supporting and self sustaining systems.
It is a fact that species are destroyed even before they are discovered. Thousands of species of medicinal plants, herbs, shrubs are yet to be discovered in the Western Ghats but sadly are being wiped out before they see the light of the day. The cure for all forms of cancer, AIDS, flu virus lies hidden in these medicinal and aromatic herbs and shrubs. Hence the urgent need to protect the western ghats as a bio reserve.
What You Can Do to Protect Biodiversity
Change in life style, Car pooling, Dedicated cycling tracks, minimize the use of plastics, recycling, Healthy choices …the list is endless. So make you choice and every time you think of a project, integrate it into the environment in an ecofriendly manner.
The way to move forward in protecting biodiversity in a responsible way; is to look at Green Gross Domestic Product (GGDP) or natural resource accounting (NRA). Firstly, the entire focus on green GDP is based on the principle of sustainability. Second, it not only improves environmental protection, but builds a system of rational resource utilization without diminishing the importance of economic development. Lastly, green GDP emphasizes the protection of biodiversity for all future generations.
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