Conservation of Biodiversity

Mains Marks Booster     31st July 2023        

Restoring biodiversity on large tracts of land is one of the major commitments that India has made under the Paris Accords. This direct connection between biodiversity and climate change was strongly affirmed by most nations in the Conference of the Parties in Glasgow

Fostering the return of biodiversity to degraded lands and enhancing blue carbon in oceans have immense environmental and considerable economic benefits. Restoration has the potential of creating millions of jobs, diversifying farming systems and agriculture-based livelihoods.

To qualify as a hotspot, a region must meet two criteria:

  • it must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5% of the world’s total) as endemics; 
  • it has to have lost ≥ 70% of its original native habitat.

Methods of Conservation

  • In Situ Method: Conserving the animals and plants in their natural habitats. 
    • Example: Protected Area Network, National Parks, Wilf Life Sanctuaries, Biosphere Reserves
  • Ex Situ Method: Conserving biodiversity outside the areas where they naturally occur.
    • Example: Zoological Parks, Botanical Gardens, etc

Ecological Hotspots and Eco-Sensitive Zones 

Ecological Hotspot

Eco-Sensitive Zones

An ecological hotspot is a biogeographic region that is significantly rich in biodiversity but is threatened with destruction. To qualify as a hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

  • It must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5 percent of the world’s total) as endemics.
  • It must have lost at least 70 percent of its original habitat.

Biodiversity Hotspots in India

  • The Himalayas: This includes the entire Indian Himalayan region (and also falls in Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar).
  • The Western Ghats: These are older than the Himalayas and spread across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Sundaland: Includes the Nicobar group of Islands.
  • The Indo-Burma region: It encompasses Eastern India, Southern China, and the whole of Indo-Chinese Peninsula.
  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, around Protected Areas, National Parks, and Wildlife Sanctuaries. 
  • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorber” to the protected areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  • Various activities are regulated and restricted in these zones, depending
  • upon their nature and their potential impact on the environment. Some of these activities include commercial mining, setting up of industries, major hydroelectric projects, etc.