Conservation of Plants and Animals

6.1. INTRODUCTION
The term Biodiversity is a concise term used for ‘Biological diversity’. Biodiversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources, such as terrestrial, marine, other ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. This includes diversity within the species, between the species and of the ecosystems. The term biodiversity describes all aspects of diversity but especially the richness of species within a specified region or the world, the complexity of ecosystems and genetic diversity. Diversity differs from place to place as each habitat has its own distinct biota.
The major factors that tend to decrease biodiversity are increasing human population, higher resource consumption and pollution. Loss of biodiversity reduces gene pool of species, number of interactions in the biota and ability of species to adapt themselves to change in the environment. India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries in the world. The country is divided into 10 biogeographic regions. Endemism of Indian biodiversity is significant about 5150 species of flowering plants (30% of the world’s endemic flora) are endemic to the country. These are distributed over 141 genera belonging to 47 families. These are concentrated in the floristically rich areas of North-East India, Western Ghats, North-West Himalayas and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These areas constitute 2 of the 18 hot spots identified in the world. It is estimated that 62% of the known amphibian species are endemic to India of which a majority is found in Western Ghats.

6.2. BIODIVERSITY ON THE EARTH
According to the IUCN (2004), the total number of plants and animal species described so far is slightly more than 1.5 million, but we have no clear idea of how many species are yet to be discovered and described. Some extreme estimates range from 20 to 50 million, but a more conservative and scientifically sound estimate made by Robert May, places the global species diversity at about 7 million. It is estimated that more than 70% of all the species recorded are animals and plants (including algae, fungi, bryophytes, gymnosperms and angiosperms) comprise about 22% of the total. Among animals, insects are the most species rich taxonomic group, making up more than 70% of the total. The number of fungi species in the world is more than the combined total of the species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF SPECIES, IDENTIFIED FROM ALL OVER THE WORLDRLD
Group Number of Species
Higher Plants 2,70,000
Algae 40,000
Fungi 72,000
Bacteria (including cyanobacteria) 4,000
Viruses 1,550
Mammals 4,650
Birds 9,700
Reptiles 7,150
Fish 26,959
Amphibians 4,780
Insects 10,25,000
Crustaceans 43,000
Molluscs 70,000
Nematodes and worms 25,000
Protozoa 40,000
Others 1,10,000

6.3. BIODIVERSITY IN INDIA
India with 2.4% of the world’s land area share 8.1% of the global species diversity. It is among 12 mega diversity countries of the world. Nearly 45,000 species of plants and twice as many of animals have been recorded from India. It is estimated that probably more than 1,00,000 plant species and more than 3,00,000 animal species yet to be discovered and described.

APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF SPECIES DESCRIBED FROM INDIA

Number of Species of Plants and Bacteria

Number of Species of Animals

Group

Number of Species

Group

Number of Species

Angiosperms

Gymnosperms

Pteridophytes

Bryophytes

Lichens

Fungi

Algae

Bacteria

17,500

64

1,100

2,850

2,000

14,500

6,500

850  

Mammalia

Aves

Reptilia

Amphibia

Pisces

Protochordata

Invertebrates

Arthropoda

Mollusca

Protozoa

390

1,232

456

209

2,546

119

8,329

68,389

5,070

2,577

6.4. LEVELS OF BIODIVERSITY
The biological diversity includes following three hierarchical levels:
1.  Genetic diversity
2. Species diversity
3. Community and ecosystem diversity
Genetic Diversity
It is the diversity in the number and types of genes as well as chromosomes present in different species and the variations in the genes and their alleles in the same species. Variations in the genes of a species increases with the increase in size and environmental parameters of the habitat. Ecotype formation depends upon it. Genetic diversity is useful in adaptation to changes in the environmental condition. It helps in speciation or new species evolution. India has more than 50,000 genetically different strains of rice, and 1,000 varieties of mango.
Species Diversity It means the species richness in any habitat. Greater the species richness, greater will be their diversity. However, it should not be confused with the species abundance. It is the diversity at the species level. For example, the Western Ghats have a greater amphibian species diversity than Eastern Ghats.
Ecosystem Diversity Ecological or ecosystem diversity is the diversity at the ecosystem level. For example, India with its deserts, rainforests, mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands, estuaries and alpine meadows has a greater ecosystem diversity than a Scandinavian country-like Norway. Diversity at the level of community and ecosystem has three perspectives, i.e.,  α, β and γ -diversity (Whittaker; 1965).
(i) α -diversity (within community diversity): It is also called local diversity and is a diversity within a community,
(ii) β -diversity (between community diversity): It is calculated by dividing gamma ( γ ) by a diversity and is a diversity between two community.
(iii) γ -diversity: It is also called regional diversity. It represents the total richness of species in all the habitats found within a region, geographical area or landscape.

6.5. PATTERNS OF BIODIVERSITY
All over the Earth, biodiversity shows following pattern: Latitudinal Gradient The diversity of plants and animals is not uniform throughout the world. It shows an uneven distribution. In general, species diversity decreases as we move away from the equator towards the poles. Usually, tropics (latitudinal. range of 23.5°N to 23.5°S) harbour more species than temperate or polar areas. Columbia located near the equator has nearly 1,400 species of birds, while New York at 41°N has 105 species and Greenland at 71°N only 56 species. India, with much of its land area in the tropical latitudes, has more than 1,200 species of birds. The largely tropical Amazonian rainforest in South America has the greatest biodiversity on the Earth. There are about 40,000 species of plants, 3,000 of fishes, 1,300 of birds, 427 of mammals, 427 of amphibians, 378 of reptiles and more than 1,25,000 invertebrates.
Importance of biological diversity
Each organism on this earth has its own importance. These organisms while living on the earth are interacting with one another. The interaction between them is mainly for their survival. We have also learnt that one organism is the food for another. Thus each organism is essential for the growth and survival of another. We have also learnt about the FOOD CHAIN. Food chain is a linked system of organisms, and each organism is important for the next to maintain the continuity of life. Ultimately, the entire bio-system is a life support system for human race.
Role of forests
Forests are the good abode for WILDLIFE. Wildlife includes all forms of life, both plants and animals. Wild plants may be microbes, algae, fungi, liverworts (bryophytes), ferns, conifers and flowering plants, from minute forms (1 mm in size) to lofty trees (going up to the height of more than 50 m). The animals may be microbes, worms, insects, frogs, fish, birds and mammals (herbivores and carnivores). Plants and animals are interdependent. Forest is the place where both, plants and animals add to the biodiversity. Inaccessible places are the places which are difficult to reach. Such places may be high hills, deep seas or ravines covered with dense forests and wildlife. The life at such places is not disturbed by man. Natural evolution or extinction of life forms goes on at such places. This helps in the natural conservation of biodiversity.
6.6. LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
The loss of biological diversity is a global crisis. Out of the 1.6 million species known to inhabit the Earth, about  one fourth to on third is likely to get extinct within the next few decades. Biological extinction has been a natural phenomenon in geological history. The destruction of the world’s tropical forests, which are disappearing at an alarming rate, is one of the most urgent global environmental issues. Tropical forests are estimated to contain 50 to 90% of the world’s total biodiversity.
The biological wealth of our planet has been declining rapidly and the accusing finger is clearly pointing towards the human activities. The colonization of tropical Pacific Islands by humans is said to have led to the extinction of more than 2,000 species of native birds The IUCN Red List (2004) documents the extinction of 784 species (including 338 vertebrates, 359 invertebrates and 87 plants) in the last 500 years. Some examples of recent extinctions include the dodo (Mauritius), quagga (Africa), thylacine (Australia). Steller’s sea cow (Russia) and three subspecies of tiger (Bali, Java, Caspian). The last twenty years alone have witnessed the disappearance of 27 species. Careful analysis of records shows that the extinctions across taxa are not random; some groups like amphibians appear to be more vulnerable to extinction. Adding to the grim scenario of extinctions, the fact is that more than 15,500 species worldwide are facing the threat of extinction. Presently, 12 percent of all bird species, 23 percent of all mammal species, 32 percent of all amphibian species and 31 percent of all gymnosperm species in the world face the threat of extinction.
Causes of Biodiversity Loss
In nature, new forms of organisms are evolving and at the same time many of the old forms are disappearing. This biological evolution (coming of new forms) and biological extinction (degeneration of some of the old forms) is a natural phenomenon. It is a very slow process even then it makes a vast difference in life forms over a long period of time. Adding of new forms of living organisms add to the biodiversity. At the same time loss of certain old forms is the degeneration of biodiversity.
Real danger to the biodiversity comes from:
(i) Natural disasters                  (ii) Human activities
Natural Disasters
1. Storms and cyclones are the atmospheric disasters caused by strong winds. Depending up on the speed of the wind and its shape these are termed as hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes. Strong winds destroy many plants and animals.
2. Earthquakes are the displacement of the rocks below the earth’s crust which causes the grout to shake or vibrate. Powerful earthquakes may result in cracks appearing on the earth which the plant and animal life in the region may get buried. This results in destroying many of the species of organisms. Earthquakes along seacoast may also cause huge sea waves called Tsunamis. Tsunamis destroy life forms along the sea coasts.
3. Climatic changes, draught and floods may also cause destruction of many life forms forever thus disturbing biodiversity.
4. Landslides along the hilly terrain carry many of the life forms with the sliding earth and bill them forever under the debris. Under this debris many of the life forms disappear from the earth forever.
Man-made Disasters
Manmade disasters have been a major factor in the degeneration of biodiversity. Some of the human activities listed below have changed the face of the ‘LIFE FORMS’ upon the earth:
1. Population and Urbanisation
Growth in human population and urbanisation has tremendously affected the wild life on the earth.
2. Deforestation
Deforestation has been the first act of man to have destroyed many life forms. We have learnt that many organisms are supported by forests. Forests being cut and destroyed are causing the disappearance of many plant and animal species from the face of the earth.
3. Changes in land use patterns
Changes in land use patterns for cultivation of crop plants, raising of orchards, building of the  houses, laying of roads and canals, raising of dams and creating artificial lakes and all such human activities have caused loss of biodiversity.
4. Energy consumption and Emissions
Energy consumption and Emissions have been resulting in the loss of fuel plants, which might have been fodder for the life forms. The life forms disappeared for want of food. Then, the poisonous gases being emitted by burning fuel cause pollution, adversely affecting biodiversity, both directly and indirectly.
5. Pollution
Pollution due to excessive use of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides have not only harmed the life on earth but it has also caused the pollution of groundwater resources which are harmful even for man himself. This results in poisoning of biodiversity. Many animals’ forms die from eating poisoned seeds and fruits and taking polluted water.
6. Alien Species Invasion
Replacing age old varieties of crop and wild plants with new breeds and genetically modified (Gm) varieties are resulting in the loss of certain indigenous varieties. This is true for crop plants and food yielding animals. When alien species are introduced unintentionally or deliberately for whatever purpose, some of them turn invasive, and cause decline or extinction of indigenous species. The Nile perch introduced into Lake Victoria in East Africa led eventually to the extinction of an ecologically unique assemblage of more than 200 species of cichlid fish in the lake. Another example of environmental damage caused and threat posed to our native species by invasive weed species like carrot grass (Parthenium), Lantana and water hyacinth (Eichhornia). The recent illegal introduction of the African catfish Clarias gariepinus for aquaculture purposes is posing a threat to the indigenous catfishes in our rivers.
7. Co-Extinction
When a species becomes extinct, the plant and animal species associated with it in an obligatory way also become extinct. When a host fish species becomes extinct, its unique assemblage of parasites also meets the same fate. Another example is the case of a coevolved plant-pollinator mutualism where extinction of one invariably leads to the extinction of the other.
8. Natural resources exploitation
Excessive exploitation of natural resources also results in degeneration of certain species. For example, many medicinal plants and fleshy animals have disappeared in the past. Dodo, a flightless bird from Mauritius was easily captured and killed ruthlessly for food resulting in its total disappearance from the island. It is extinct today.
9. Other factors
Competition for food and survival comes in the way of preserving wild life. Mechanisation on farms is also affecting the population of cattle like horses, mules, donkeys, ox and bulls, which were kept by farmers as draught animals. These cattle are getting rare.
Effects of deforestation
Continuous cutting of trees has a disastrous effect on surroundings. Destroying of forests result in serious consequences. Some of the effects of deforestation are:

  1. Desertification: On cutting of a tree soil is left exposed to weather conditions which results in the change of physical property of the soil. Top soil loses water, becomes dry and loses. Over a long period of time it gets sandy as the soil in desert.
  2. Soil erosion: Loose soil is easily eroded by wind and water.
  3. Harm to groundwater: Due to lack of percolation of rainwater, the water table of the ground water gets low. This is a big loss to the water conservation and augmentation of groundwater.
  4. Change in climate: Deforestation results in strong winds rise in temperature of surroundings and reduced rain. All these changes lead to change in climate of the place.
  5. Global warming: Reduced greenery means reduced consumption of carbon dioxide. Deforestation results in increasing the level of carbon dioxide in atmosphere causing global warming.
  6. Destruction of habitats: Many plants and animals which survive on resources and homes forest lose their habitats. This results in the loss of wildlife.
  7. Decrease in rainfall and affecting water cycle: It is a natural phenomenon that clouds are attracted to areas which are humid. Forest trees transpire great amount of water making atmosphere humid. Thus forests help rain and maintain water cycle. This also augments groundwater. If the forests are cut the soil gets dry.

6.7. EXTINCTION OF SPECIES
The total elimination or dying out of a particular species from the Earth leads to extinction of that species. A species becomes prone to extinction due to two categories of attributes, drastic environmental changes and population characteristics. Population traits, which make a species susceptible to extinction, are

  1. Large body size, e.g., elephant, rhinoceros, lion.
  2. Small population size.
  3. Low reproductive potential, e.g., blue whale.
  4. Higher states of trophic level, e.g., Bengal tiger.
  5. Fixed migratory route and habitat, e.g., blue whale.
  6. Narrow range distribution or small geographical range, e.g., woodland.
  7. Island species.
  8. Lack of genetic variability.
  9. Inability to switch over to alternate foods.

Types of Extinction
There are generally three types of extinction:
(i) Natural Extinction: Natural extinction is a slow process of replacement of existing species with the better adapted species due to alternate evolution, changes in environmental condition, predators and diseases. A small population is more likely to become extinct sooner than the larger population due to inbreeding depression. Extinction vertex is a combination of genetic and demographic factors.
(ii) Mass Extinction: Catastrophes have struck the Earth several times in the past when mass extinction occurred. Amass extinction occurred about 225 million years ago in Permian period when 90% of shallow marine invertebrates disappeared. Another mass extinction occurred between Cretaceous and Tertiary period over 60 million years ago when dinosaurs and a number of other organisms disappeared. It is also called K-T boundary. K—T boundary extinctions are connected with deposits of iridium, which is otherwise rare on Earth.
(iii) Anthropogenic Extinctions: These are extinction by human activities like hunting, over-exploitation and habitat destruction. It is documented by Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), Tasmanian wolf, etc.
Red Data Book and IUCN
IUCN is International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources which is now called World Conservation Union (WCU). It has its headquarters at Merges, Switzerland. It maintains a Red Data Book or Red list which is a catalogue of taxa facing risk of extinction. Threatened species is the one which is liable to become extinct if not allowed to realize its full biotic potential by providing protection from exotic species/human exploitation/habitat deterioration/depletion of food. Red Data Book or Red list was initiated in 1963. The 2000 Red list has made assessment of 18,000 species out of which 11096 species (5485 animals and 5611 plants) are on the threatened list worldwide. The purpose of preparation of red list is to
(a) Provide awareness to the degree of threat to biodiversity.
(b) Provide global index about already decline of biodiversity.
(c) Identification and documentation of species at high risk of extinction
(d) Preparing conservation priorities and help in conservation action
(e) Information and international trade in endangered species of wild Fauna and Flora.
Threatened Species
Threatened species is the one which is liable to become extinct if not allowed to realise its full biotic potential by providing protection from the exotic species. According to Mace and Stuart (1994), following categories are found:
(a) Extinct: A taxon is extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that its last individual has died.
(b) Extinct in the Wild (EW): A taxon is extinct in the wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity, or as a naturalised population well outside the past range.
(c) Critically Endangered (CR): A taxon is critically endangered when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in immediate future (925 animals and 1,014 plants).
(d) Endangered (EN): A taxon is endangered when it is not critically endangered but facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in near future. Population is estimated to number less than 250 mature individuals. For example, the black-winged Indonesian parrot, blue whale, largest lemur (Idri idri).
(e) Vulnerable (VU): A taxon is vulnerable when it is not critically endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium term future. Population is estimated to number less than 1,000 mature individuals. For example, the Madagascar frog (Dyscophus antongilii), black buck (Antelope cervicarpa).
(f) Conservation Dependent (CD): Taxa that do not currently qualify as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable, may be classified as conservation dependent.
(g) Low Risk (LR): A taxon is at low risk when evaluated, does not qualify for any of the categories like critically endangered, vulnerable or conservation dependent, it (in India number is 109 animals, 73 plants).
(h) Data Deficient (DD): A taxon is data deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution or population status.
(i) Not Evaluated: (NE) A taxon is under the category of not evaluated, when it has not yet been assessed against the criteria.

SOME ENDANGERED PLANT SPECIES OF INDIA
1 Abies delavayi (Gymnosperm) 7 Vanilla piliferae
2 Taxus baccata (Gymnosperm) 8 Rauwolfia serpentine
3 Picea brachytyla (Gymnosperm) 9 Nepenthes khasiana
4 Psilotum nudum (Gymnosperm) 10 Atropa acuminate
5 Angiopteris erecta (Gymnosperm) 11 Saussurea bacteata
6 Adiandra griffithi 12 Coptis teeta
    13 Strychnos nux-vornica

6.8. CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Conservation of biodiversity is protection, uplift and scientific management of biodiversity so as to maintain it at its optimum level and derive sustainable benefits for the present as well as future strategies.
Main Strategies of Conservation
(i) All the threatened species should be protected. Priority should be given to ones belonging to the monotypic genera, endangered over vulnerable, vulnerable over rare and rare over other species.
(ii) All the possible varieties (old or new) of food, forage and timber plants, liver stock, aquaculture animals, and microbes should be conserved.
(iii) Wild relatives of economically important organisms should be identified and conserved in protected areas.
(iv) Critical habitats for feeding/breeding/resting/nursing of each species should be identified and safeguarded.
(v) Resting/feeding places of migratory/wide ranging animals should be protected, pollution controlled and exploitation regulated.
(vi) National Wildlife Protection Law be enacted (in India, 1972), wildlife protection strategies formulated (1983) and protection programmes integrated with the international programmes.
(vii) Priority based ecosystems.
(viii) The reproductive capacity of the exploited species and productivity of the ecosystem should be determined.
(ix) International trade in wildlife should be highly regulated.
(x) Development of reserves or protected areas.
(xi) Controlling introduction of new species.
(xii) Pollution reduction and public awareness.
(xiii) There are two types of conservation strategies, i.e., in situ and ex situ. Both of these conservation strategies are being discussed here.

An outline of biodiversity conservation

In Situ Conservation
It is the conservation of living resources through their maintenance within the natural ecosystems, in which they occur. The in situ approach is preferable because of the fact that not much diversity can be conserved outside the centres of diversity. It includes a comprehensive system of protected areas such as the national parks, sanctuaries, natural reserves, natural monuments, cultural landscapes, biosphere reserves, wetlands and several others. These areas vary considerably in size, design, purpose and effectiveness of management, but beyond any doubt, they serve as a repository for much of the world’s biological diversity.

  1. WETLANDS
    In India, recently much attention has been paid towards in situ conservation of wetlands. Wetlands are an integral part of the watersheds and generally lie at the interface between the land and water. Wetlands are classified according to their location, water chemistry, dominant vegetation and human intervention. They are very rich in their biodiversity and are highly productive.
  1. PROTECTED AREAS
    Protected areas are the part of land and sea, especially dedicated to protection and maintenance of biological diversity and of natural and associated cultural resources. These are managed through legal or other effective means. Examples of protected areas are National parks and Wildlife sanctuaries. The earliest National parks, the Yellowstone in USA and the Royal near Sydney Australia, were chosen because of their scenic beauty and recreational values. Many similar areas throughout the world now protect rare species or wilderness areas. World Conservation Monitoring Centre has recognized 37,000 protected areas around the world. As of September 2002, India has 581 protected areas (89 National parks and 492 Wildlife sanctuaries), covering 4.7 percent of the land surface, as against 10 percent internationally suggested norm.
  1. NATIONAL PARKS OF INDIA
    India’s first National park (IUCN Category-II Protected area) was Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, established in 1935. By 1970, India had only five National parks. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard habitat. Further, federal legislation strengthening protections for wildlife was introduced in the 1980s. As of April 2007, there are 96 National parks. All National park lands encompass a combined 38,029. 18 km2 and 1.16% of India’s total surface area. A total of 166 national parks have been authorized. Plans are underway to establish the remaining scheduled parks. All of India’s national parks are listed below alongside their home state or territory and the date that they were established. For an overview of Indian protected areas in general, please see the protected areas of India.

NATIONAL PARKS IN INDIA

No

Name

State

Started in

Area (in km²)

1

Anshi National Park

Karnataka

1987

250

2

Balphakram National Park

Meghalaya

1986

220

3

Bandhavgarh National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1982

448.85

4

Bandipur National Park

Karnataka

1974

874.20

5

Bannerghatta National Park

Karnataka

1974

104.27

6

Vansda National Park

Gujarat

1979

23.99

7

Betla National Park

Jharkhand

1986

231.67

8

Bhitarkanika National Park

Odisha

1988

145

9

Blackbuck National Park

Gujarat

1976

34.08

10

Buxa Tiger Reserve

West Bengal

1992

117.10

11

Campbell Bay National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1992

426.23

12

Chandoli National Park

Maharashtra

2004

317.67

13

Corbett National Park

Uttarakhand

1936

520.82

14

Dachigam National Park

Jammu and Kashmir

1981

141

15

Darrah National Park

Rajasthan

2004

250

16

Desert National Park

Rajasthan

1980

3162

17

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

Assam

1999

340

18

Dudhwa National Park

Uttar Pradesh

1977

490.29

19

Eravikulam National Park

Kerala

1978

97

20

Mandla Plant Fossils National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1983

0.27

21

Galathea National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1992

110

22

Gangotri National Park

Uttarakhand

1989

1552.73

23

Gir Forest National Park

Gujarat

1965

258.71

24

Gorumara National Park

West Bengal

1994

79.45

25

Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary

Uttarakhand

1990

472.08

26

Great Himalayan National Park

Himachal Pradesh

1984

754.40

27

Gugamal National Park

Maharashtra

1987

361.28

28

Guindy National Park

Tamil Nadu

1976

2.82

29

Gulf of Kutch Marine National Park

Gujarat

1980

162.89

30

Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

Tamil Nadu

1980

6.23

31

Hemis National Park

Jammu and Kashmir

1981

4,100

32

Harike Wetland

Punjab

1987

86

33

Hazaribagh National Park

Jharkhand

1954

183.89

34

Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park

Tamil Nadu

1989

117.10

35

Indravati National Park

Chhattisgarh

1981

1258.37

36

Jaldapara National Park

West Bengal

2012

216

37

Intangki National Park

Nagaland

1993

202.02

38

Kalesar National Park

Haryana

2003

100.88

39

Kanha National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1955

940

40

Kanger Ghati National Park

Chhattisgarh

1982

200

41

Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park

Andhra Pradesh

1994

1.42

42

Kaziranga National Park

Assam

1905

471.71

43

Keibul Lamjao National Park

Manipur

1977

40

44

Keoladeo National Park

Rajasthan

1981

28.73

45

Khangchendzonga National Park

Sikkim

1977

1784

46

Kishtwar National Park

Jammu and Kashmir

1981

400

47

Kudremukh National Park

Karnataka

1987

600.32

48

Madhav National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1959

375.22

49

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1983

281.50

50

Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park

Andhra Pradesh

1994

14.59

51

Manas National Park

Assam

1990

500

52

Mathikettan Shola National Park

Kerala

2003

12.82

53

Middle Button Island National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1987

0.64

54

Mollem National Park

Goa

1978

107

55

Mouling National Park

Arunachal Pradesh

1986

483

56

Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary

Rajasthan

1960

288.84

57

Mount Harriet National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1987

46.62

58

Mrugavani National Park

Andhra Pradesh

1994

3.6

59

Mudumalai National Park

Tamil Nadu

1940

321.55

60

Mukurthi National Park

Tamil Nadu

2001

78.46

61

Murlen National Park

Mizoram

1991

200

62

Namdapha National Park

Arunachal Pradesh

1974

1985.23

63

Nagarhole National Park

Karnataka

1988

643.39

64

Nameri National Park

Assam

1978

137.07

65

Nanda Devi National Park

Uttarakhand

1982

630.33

66

Nandankanan National Park (not verified)

Odisha

 

 

67

Navegaon National Park

Maharashtra

1975

133.88

68

Neora Valley National Park

West Bengal

1986

88

69

Nokrek National Park

Meghalaya

1986

47.48

70

North Button Island National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1979

144

71

Orang National Park

Assam

1999

78.80

72

Palani Hills National Park

Tamil Nadu

proposed

736.87

73

Panna National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1981

542.67

74

Pench National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1977

758

75

Periyar National Park

Kerala

1982

305

76

Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park

Mizoram

1992

50

77

Pin Valley National Park

Himachal Pradesh

1987

807.36

78

Rajaji National Park

Uttarakhand

1983

820.42

79

Rani Jhansi Marine National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1996

256.14

80

Ranthambore National Park

Rajasthan

1981

392

81

Saddle Peak National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1987

32.54

82

Salim Ali National Park

Jammu and Kashmir

1992

9.07

83

Sanjay National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1981

466.7

84

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Maharashtra

1969

104

85

Sariska Tiger Reserve

Rajasthan

1955

866

86

Satpura National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1981

585.17

87

Silent Valley National Park

Kerala

1980

237

88

Sirohi National Park

Manipur

1982

41.30

89

Simlipal National Park

Odisha

1980

845.70

90

Singalila National Park

West Bengal

1986

78.60

91

South Button Island National Park

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1987

0.03

92

Sri Venkateswara National Park

Andhra Pradesh

1989

353.62

93

Sultanpur National Park

Haryana

1989

1.43

94

Sundarbans National Park

West Bengal

1984

1330.12

95

Tadoba National Park

Maharashtra

1955

625

96

Valley of Flowers National Park

Uttarakhand

1982

87.50

97

Valmiki National Park

Bihar

1989

461.6

98

Van Vihar National Park

Madhya Pradesh

1983

4.45

99

Papikonda National Park

Andhra Pradesh

2008

1012.85

WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES OF INDIA
India has over 500 animal sanctuaries and wildlife sanctuaries (IUCN category-IV protected area). Among these, the 28 tiger reserves are governed by Project Tiger and are of special significance in the conservation of the tiger. Some wildlife sanctuaries are specifically named Bird sanctuary, e.g., Kepladeo National Park before it attained national park status. Many national parks were initially wildlife sanctuaries. In wildlife sanctuaries, protection is given only to animal life, while in national parks both flora (plants) and fauna (animals) are protected.

SOME IMPORTANT SANCTUARIES OF INDIA
Name and Location Area (in sq. km) Key Vertebrate Species
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Kamrup (Asom) Tiger, wild boar, sambhar, golden langoor, one-horned rhii deer, wild dog, wild buffalo.
Chilka Lake (Odisha) 990 Flamingoes, sandpipers, ducks, water fowls, cranes, golden plovers, ospreys.
Periyar Sanctuary (Kerala) 777 Mammals Elephants, leopard, black langoor, sambhar, gaur, bison. Birds Egret, horn bills.
Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary (Rajasthan) 29 Migratory Birds Siberian crane, spoon bill, herons, agrets, variety of other local birds. Mammals Blue bull, wild boar, black buck, and spotted deer. Reptiles Python, crocodile.
Sultanpur Lake Bird Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh) 12 Birds Cranes, duck, green pigeon, drake, spot bill. Reptiles Python, crocodile.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Nilgiri (Tamil Nadu) 520 Mammals Flying squirrel, porcupine, elephant, sambhar, cheetal, barking deer, mouse, deer, four-horned antelope, giant squirrel wild dog, cat and civet. Reptiles Rat snake, python, flying lizard, monitor lizard.

Biosphere Reserves
Biosphere reserves are a special category of protected areas of land and/or coastal environments, wherein people are an integral component of the system. These are the representative examples of natural biomes and contain unique biological communities. Biosphere reserves represent a specified area zonated for particular activity. These consist of:
(a) Core zone No human activity is allowed in this zone.
(b) Buffer zone Limited activity is permitted.
(c) Manipulation zone Several human activities are allowed.
Importance of Biosphere Reserve
Restoration: Biosphere reserves help in restoration of degraded ecosystem and habitats.
Conservation: Biosphere reserves ensure the conservation of landscapes, ecosystem, species and genetic resources. These reserves also encourage the traditional resource use.
Development: The biosphere reserve promotes culturally, socially and ecologically sustainable economic development.
Scientific research, monitoring and education: The biosphere reserves provide support for research monitoring education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.
Sacred forests and sacred lakes: Sacred forests are forest patches around places of worship which are held in high esteem by tribal communities. They are the most undisturbed forest patches (Island of pristine forests) which are often surrounded by highly degraded landscapes. They are found in several parts of India. E.g., Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Meghalaya, Temples built by  tribals are found surrounded by Deodar forests in Kumaon region, Jaintias and Khasias in Meghalaya. Not a single branch is allowed to be cut from these forests. As a result many endemic species which are rare or have become extinct elsewhere can be seen to flourish here. Similarly aquatic flora and fauna is also protected in sacred water bodies. E.g., Khaeheopalri lake in Sikkim.
The Indian government has established 14 biosphere reserves (UNESCO categories roughly corresponding to IUCN category-V protected areas), which protect larger areas of natural habitat (than a national park or animal sanctuary) and often include one or more national parks and /or preserves, alongwith buffer zones that are open to some economic uses. The main biosphere reserves include:
(a) Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
(b) Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve
(c) Manas Biosphere Reserve
(d) Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve
(e) Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
(f) Nokrek Biosphere Reserve
(g) Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve
(h) Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve
(i) Dehang-Debang Biosphere Reserve
(j) Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve
(k) Simlipal Biosphere Reserve
(l) Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve
(m) Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
(n) Achaanak maar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATIONAL PARK, WILDLIFE SANCTUARY AND BIOSPHERE RESERVE
National Park Sanctuary Biosphere Reserve
Attention is not given on biotic community as a whole. For example, conservation being connected to habitat for particular wild animal species such as lion, tiger, rhino, etc. Attention is not given on biotic community, i.e., conservation is species oriented. Attention is focused on biotic community as a while, i.e., conservation is ecosystem oriented.
The size ranges from 0.04 to 3,162 sq. km. The usual size being between 100 to 500 sq. km, and between 500 to 1,000 sq. km. The size ranges from 0.61 to 7,818 sq. km, usual size being between 100 and 500 sq. km, and between 500 and 1,000 sq. km. The size is well over 5,670 sq. km.
Boundaries are circumscribed by state legislation. Limits are not circumscribed. Boundaries are circumscribed by the state legislation.
There occurs no biotic interference except in buffer zone. There occurs limited biotic interference. There occurs no biotic interference except in buffer zone.
Tourism is permissible but often discouraged. Research and scientific management are lacking. Tourism is permissible Research and scientific management are lacking. Tourism is not permissible. Research and scientific management are carried out.
Proper attention is not given to gene pool conservation of economic species, particularly of plants. Proper attention is not given to gene pool conservation of economic species, particularly in plants. Due attention is given to the conservation of plants as well as animal species.

Ex Situ Conservation
It means ‘conservation outside the habitats by perpetuating sample population in genetic resource centres, zoos, botanical gardens, culture collections, etc., or in the form of gene pools and gametes storage for fish, germplasm banks for seeds, pollen, semen, ova, cell, etc. This form of conservation includes the following:

ZOOS IN INDIA
Name City State
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park Vishakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh
Nehru Zoological Park Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
Arignar Anna Zoological Park Chennai Tamil Nadu
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Park Mysore Karnataka
Kamla Nehru Zoological Park Ahmedabad Gujarat
Veermata Jijabai Udyan Zoo Mumbai Maharashtra
Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna Bihar
Kanpur Zoological Park Kanpur Uttar Pradesh
Jahawar Lal Nehru Biological Park Bokaro Jharkhand
Bannerghatta Biological Park Bengaluru Karnataka
Guindy Snake Park Chennai Tamil Nadu
Children’s Corner Zoo Chennai Tamil Nadu
Aurangabad Zoo Aurangabad Maharashtra
Indore Zoo Indore Madhya Pradesh
Asom State Zoo Guwahati Asom

ZOOS
Zoo is a place where wild animals are kept for public viewing. Some of the zoos rare animals. They have recorded success with captive breeding of animals.
BOTANICAL GARDEN
This plays an important role in the conservation of plant species so much, so that there are several instances when plants believed to be extinct, were found living only in a botanical garden. Sophora toroniro is the famous example. Record of threatened plants that are in cultivation have been kept in ‘Green Books’. The Indian Green Book prepared by BSI, lists 100 such species, which are rare, endangered or endemic but all growing in living state.
GENE BANKS
A gene bank or germplasm bank is an institution where valuable plant material is preserved in a viable condition. These are stored either in the form of seeds or dormant vegetative organs or in the form of frozen gametes.
SEED BANK
It is a fairly good way of conserving diversity and the seeds have to be stored under ‘minimal life’ so that it can be kept for many years with the accumulation of mutations and with a minimum loss of viability. Such type of conservation is practiced through cold storage in seed banks where seeds are stored for long durations. The preservation of ‘recalcitrant seeds, i.e., those, which cannot be stored at low moisture content, present problems for certain species, especially many fruits and forest species. Efforts to develop improved method for storing recalcitrant seeds involved a threefold strategy— dry storage, cryogenic storage and storage of fully hydrated seeds. Recently, a seed bank has been set up at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR, New Delhi).
ORCHARDS
Plants with recalcitrant seeds are grown in orchards where all possible strains and varieties are maintained, e.g., litchi, Palm oil, rubber tree etc.
POLLEN STORAGE
It has considerable importance in the conservation of genetic diversity. However, the life of pollen is much shorter than the seed and a maximum of three years in some species has been reported.
TISSUE CULTURE
Tissue culture technique can be extended to endangered species as well as those which may otherwise require very varied climatic condition and can be maintained at one place in aseptic cultures.
GENETIC ENGINEERING
The technique helps in the genetic manipulation of an organism and increasing its usefulness to people. This ability also makes it possible to develop a tremendous variety of new products and processes and to improve the production of many existing varieties.
CRYOPRESERVATION
Preservation at -196°C (liquid nitrogen) can maintain tissue culture, embryos, animal cells/tissues, spermatozoa indefinitely. The cryopreserved material is revived through special technique when required. 6.9. HOT SPOTS Hot spots are areas that are extremely rich in species diversity, have high endemism and are under constant threat. Among the 25 hot spots (cover 1-4% of Earth land area) of the world, two are found in India extending into neighbouring countries — the Western Ghats/Sri Lanka and the Indo-Burma region (covering the Eastern Himalayas also known as cradle of speciation). These areas are particularly rich in floral wealth and endemism, not only in flowering plants but also in reptiles, amphibians, swallow-tailed butterflies and some mammals (tropical forest appears in 15 hot spots.)
Western Ghats occur along the Western coast of India for a distance of about 1,600 km in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala extending over to Sri Lanka. Major centres of biodiversity are Agasthyamalai hills, Silent valley and Amambalam reserve. The key criteria for determining a hot spot are:

  1. Number of endemic species, i.e., the species, which are found nowhere else.
  2. Degree of threat, which is measured in terms of habitat loss.

Tropical forests appear in 15 hot spots, Mediterranean-type zones in 5, and 9 hot spots are mainly or completely made up of islands. As many as 16 hot spots are in the tropics. About 20 percent of the human population lives in the hot spot regions.
The first effort to conserve biodiversity came into effect from the Earth summit at Rio de Janerio (1992), Brazil. It promoted conservation on biological diversity, which was signed by 152 nations. Its recommendation came into effect on 29th December, 1993. India became a party to this conservation on biological diversity in May, 1994. The commitments were listed below:

  1. Adoption of ways and means to conserve biodiversity.
  2. Managing biodiversity for sustainable use.
  3. Ensuring equitable sharing of benefits from the biological diversity including utilization of genetic resources.

Hot Spots of India
The following two hot spots in India are:
(i) Eastern Himalaya
(ii) Western Ghats
(i) EASTERN HIMALAYA
The Eastern Himalayan hot spots extend to the North-eastern India and Bhutan. The temperate forests are found at altitudes of 1,780 to 3,500 metres. Many deep and semi-isolated valleys found in this region are exceptionally rich in endemic plant species. Besides being an active centre of evolution and rich diversity of flowering plants, the numerous primitive angiosperm families (e.g., Magnoliaceae and Winteraceae) and primitive genera of plants, like Magnolia and Betula, are found in Eastern Himalaya.
(ii) WESTERN GHAT
The Western Ghat region lies parallel to the Western coast of Indian Peninsula for almost 1,600 km, in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, The forests at low elevation (500 m above mean sea level) are mostly evergreen, while those found at 500-1, 500 metres height are generally semi-evergreen forests. The Agasthyamalai hills, the Silent valley and the new Amambalam reserve, are the main centres of biological diversity.
Hot Spots of World
The 25 hot spots’ of world are as follows:
(i) Tropical Andes
(ii) Mesoamerica
(iii) Caribbean
(iv) Brazil’s Atlantic forests
(v) Choco/Darien/Western
(vi) Brazil’s Cerrado
(vii) Central Chile
(viii) California Floristic Province
(ix) Madagascar
(x) Eastern Arc and Coastal forests of Tanzania/Kenya
(xi) West African Forests
(xii) Cape Floristic province
(xiii) Succulent Karoo
(xiv) Mediterranean Basin
(xv) Caucasus
(xvi) Sundland
(xvii) Wallacea
(xviii) Philippines
(xix) Indo-Burma
(xx) South-Central China
(xxi) Western Ghats/Sri Lanka
(xxii) South-West Australia
(xxiii) New Caledonia
(xxiv) New Zealand
(xxv) Polynesia Micronesia

LIST OF SOME PROTECTED INDIAN WILD LIFE

Mammals

1. Bharal (Ovis nahura)

35. Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus)

2. Bison or gaur or mifhun (Bos gaurus)

36. Loris (Loris tardigradus)

3. Black buck (Antelope cervicapra)

37. Malabar civet (Viverra megaspila)

4. Capped langur (Presbytis pileatus)

38. Markhor (Capm falconeri)

5. Caracal (Felis caracal)

39. Musk deer (Moschus moschiferus)

6. Chinkara or Indian Gazelle (Gazella gazetla bennetti)

40. Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)

7. Chital (Axis axis)

41. Nilgiri langur (Presbytis johni)

8. Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

42. Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius)

9. Crab-eating macaque (Macaca irus umbrosa)

43. Otters (Lutra lutra, L. perspicillata, Aonyx cinerea)

10. Fishing cat (Felis viverrina)

44. Pallas’s cat (Felis manul)

11. Flying squirres (Petaarista, Eupetaurus, Belomys, Hylopetes All species).

45. Pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina)

12. Four-horned antelope (Tetraceros quadricomis)

46. Pigmy hog (Sus sulvanius)

13. Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica)

47. Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

14. Gaint squirrels (Ratufa macroura, R mrtira, R bitolor)

48. Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

15. Golden cat (Felis temmincki)

49. Sambar (Cereus unicolor)

16. Golden langur (Presbytis geei)

50. Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus)

17. Gorals (Nemorhaedus goral, N.hcxigsoni)

51. Slow loris (Nycticebus coucang)

18. Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus)

52. Snow leopard (Panthera undo.)

19. Himalayan brown beat (Ursus arctos)

53. Swamp deer or gond (Cervus duvauceli, all species)

20. Himalayan ibex (Copra ibex)

54. Tibetan antelope or chiru (Panthelope hodgsoni)

21. Himalayan crestless porcupine (Hystrix hodgsoni)

55. Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferritatus)

22. Hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus)

56. Tibetan gazelle (Protapra piciicaudaia)

23. Hoolock or gibbon (Hylobates hoolock)

57. Tibetan wild ass (Equus heminonus kiang)

24. Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena)

58. Tiger (Panthera tigris)

25. Indian elephant (Elephas maximus)

59. Wild buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

26. Indian lion (Pantbera leo persica)

60. Wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus)

27. Indian pangoln (Manis crassicaudata)

61. Wild pig (Sus scrofa)

28. Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur)

62. Wild yak (Bos grunniens)

29. Indian wolf (Canis lupus)

 

30. Kashmir stag or hangul (Ceruus elaphus hanglu)

 

31. Leopard or panther (Pantbera pardus)

 

32. Uopard cat (Felis bengalensis)

 

33. Lesser or red panda (Ailurus fulgens)

 

Reptiles

Birds

1. Estuarine crocodile (crocodilus porosus)

1. Cheer pheasant (Catreus wallichii)

2. Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)

2. Great Indian bustard (Cfioriostis nigriceps)

3. Leathery turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

3. Great Indian hornbill (Buceros bicomis)

4. Marsh crocodile (Crocodilus palustris)

4. Jerdons’s courser (Cursorius biiorquatus)

5. Monitor lizards (Vardnus griseiis, V. bengalensis, V. ftauescehs, ” V. salvator, V. nebulosus)

5. Large falcons (Falco peregrinus, F. biarmicus, F. chicquera)

6. Pythons (Python molurus, P. reticulatus)

6. Mountain Quail (Oppassia superciliosa)

 

7. Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

8. Pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea)

9. Sclater’s mona! (Lophophorus sclateri)

10. Siberian white crane (Grus leucogeranus)

11. Tragopan pheasants (Tragopan species)

 

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