Mains Marks Booster     31st July 2023        
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"Preserving biodiversity is our duty towards the planet and future generations. It is our collective responsibility to protect and conserve the rich flora and fauna that make our planet unique. Let us strive to create a harmonious balance between development and nature, ensuring that biodiversity thrives and sustains for the well-being of all." -  Prime Minister Narendra Modi

    Keywords from Aaj Ka Quality Enrichment (

  • Carbon Sequestering, Ecological Footprint, Cultural ambassadors, Conservation Genetics, Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs), Habitat fragmentation, Nature-Based solutions (NBS), Coastal resilience, Fence-line conflicts, Human-wildlife coexistence, Goldilocks zone/territory and Sweet Spot, Van-Dhan.

“The interest in conservation is not a sentimental one, but the rediscovery of a truth well known to our ancient sages. The Indian tradition teaches us that all forms of life — human, animal and plant — are so closely interlinked that disturbance in one gives rise to imbalance in the other.” – Indira Gandhi (1980) 


The United Nations Earth Summit 1992 defined Biodiversity as ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems. 

Types of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is considered to exist at three levels: genetics, species, and ecosystems.

types of biodiversity

Type of Biodiversity




Genetic Biodiversity

Variation of genes within a species

Mutation, gene flow, sexual reproduction, natural selection

Variations in human blood types, dog breeds

Species Biodiversity

Variety of species in a region or habitat

Speciation, migration, adaptation

Tropical rainforests, coral reefs

Ecosystem Biodiversity

Diversity of habitats, ecological processes, and communities

Geographic features, climate, disturbance patterns

Desert, forest, ocean, tundra ecosystems

Ecosystem Services provided by Biodiversity: Food Production, Pollination of Plants, Water Purification, Climate Regulation, Erosion Prevention and Soil Formation, Pharmaceuticals and Medicines, Recreation and Tourism, Cultural Value

Importance of Biodiversity         

  • Ecosystem services: Biodiversity provides a range of ecosystem services, including air and water purification, soil formation, nutrient cycling, pollination, and pest control. 
  • Economic value: through the production of food, medicine, and other products. It also supports industries such as tourism and recreation.
  • Climate change mitigation: by sequestering carbon and maintaining the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • Cultural value: Biodiversity is an integral part of many cultures around the world, providing spiritual and aesthetic value.
  • Conservation of genetic resources: Biodiversity is a source of genetic diversity, which is essential for the development of new crops and medicines.
  • Ethical responsibility: We have an ethical responsibility to protect biodiversity for future generations and to maintain the integrity of the Earth's ecosystems.

Reasons for Loss to Biodiversity

  • Habitat Destruction: Habitat destruction, often due to human activities like deforestation, urbanization, and agriculture, is a primary cause of biodiversity loss. 
  • For instance, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported in 2020 that the Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, has lost over 17% of its forest cover in the last 50 years.
  • Climate Change: The rapid rate of climate change is threatening species that cannot adapt quickly enough. 
  • The IPCC has predicted that 20-30% of species will be at risk of extinction if global temperature rises exceed 1.5-2.5°C.
  • Overexploitation: Overfishing, poaching, and overhunting are causing dramatic declines in many species. 
  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), overfishing has left nearly one-third of assessed fish species threatened with extinction as of 2020.
  • Invasive Species: Non-native species can disrupt ecosystems by out-competing native species. 
  • For example, the introduction of the brown tree snake to Guam after WWII has led to the extinction of 9 out of 12 native bird species.
  • Pollution: Contamination of air, water, and soil can harm or kill species. 
  • The 2020 WWF Living Planet report highlighted that plastic waste alone is predicted to double by 2030, posing a major threat to marine life.
  • Disease: Diseases can devastate populations and even lead to species extinction.

‘Cool-spots’ (the world’s last refuges where high numbers of threatened species still persist).

Important facts: 

  • Today, India is one of the 17 mega-diverse (richest biodiversity) countries.

Loss of Biodiversity: 

Sixth Mass Extinction:

sixth mass extinction

A mass extinction is a short period of geological time in which a high percentage of biodiversity, or distinct species—bacteria, fungi, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates—dies out.

  • The present era of loss of biodiversity is often described as the ‘Sixth Mass Extinction.”
  • Unlike previous extinction events caused by natural phenomena, the sixth mass extinction is driven by human activity, primarily (though not limited to) the unsustainable use of land, water and energy use, and climate change. 

The Evil Quartet Causing Sixth Mass extinction 

  • Today, the extinction rate is approximately 40,000 times higher than this background rate due to human depredations. For the first time an enormous proportion of terrestrial plant species that form the basis of land ecosystems remains threatened. Previous mass extinctions had no palpable effect on terrestrial plants.
evil quartet causing sixth mass
  • At least 10 per cent of India's recorded wild flora and possibly more of its wild fauna are on the list of threatened species; many are on the brink of obliteration.
  • The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and the pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) are among species that have become extinct.


Biodiversity conservation is essential for maintaining the health of ecosystems, supporting human well-being, mitigating climate change, preserving cultural heritage, conserving genetic resources, and fulfilling our ethical responsibilities.

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