Sunday, November 3, 2013

Conservation of biodiversity

The following measures should be taken to conserve biodiversity

  1. Illegal hunting and trade of animals and animal products should be stopped immediately
  2. People-at-large should boycott purchasing coats, purse or bags made of animal skin
  3. Bio-diversity laws should be strengthened.
  4. Adequate crop and cattle compensation schemes must be started
  5. Solar powered fencing must be provided with electric current proof trenches to prevent animals from entering fields.
  6. Cropping pattern should be changed near the forest borders
  7. Adequate food and water should be made available for wild animals within forest zones.
  8. Development and construction work in and around forest region must be stopped.
Biodiversity is one of the important tools for sustainable development. The commercial, medical, genetic, aesthetic, and ecological importance of biodiversity emphasizes the need for its conservation.

FACTORS AFFECTING BIODIVERSITY:
  1. Biodiversity is disturbed by human activity
  2. Poaching of animals, over-exploitation of natural sources and degradation of habitats affect biodiversity.
  3. Marine ecosystems are disturbed due to oil spills and discharge of effluents
  4. Climatic factors like global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain also affect biodiversity
NEED FOR BIODIVERSITY
  1. It provides recreation and tourism
  2. Drugs, herbs, food and other important raw materials are derived from plants and animals
  3. It preserves the genetic diversity of plants and animals
  4. It ensures sustainable utilization of life supporting systems on earth.
  5. It needs to conservation of essential ecological diversity and life supporting systems
  6. Loss of biodiversity leads to ecological and environmental deterioration
There are two types of biodiversity conservation:
  1. In-situ conservation and
  2. Ex-situ conservation
IN-SITU CONSERVATION
In-situ conservation involves protection of flora and fauna within its natural habitat. The natural habitats or ecosystems under in-situ conservation are called "protected areas".
  1. Biosphere reserves
  2. National parks
  3. Wildlife sanctuaries
  4. Gene sanctuaries
Biosphere reserves cover large areas (>5000 sq.km.) They are normally used to protect species for a long time. The roles of biosphere reserves are listed below:
  1. Long-term survival of evolving ecosystem
  2. Protect endangered species
  3. Protect maximum number of species and communities
  4. Serve as site of recreation and tourism
  5. May also be used for educational and research purposes
 Biosphere reserves function as an open system and changes in land use are not allowed. No tourism and explosive activities are allowed in biosphere reserves.

A national park is an area dedicated for the conservation of wildlife along with its environment. It covers an area ranging from 100 to 500 sq.km. One or more national parks may exist within a biosphere reserve.
A national park is used for enjoyment through tourism, without affecting the environment.
It is used to protect, propagate and develop wildlife.
Grazing domestic animals inside national parks is prohibited
All private rights and forestry activities are prohibited inside a national park
 
Wildlife sanctuary is an area that is reserved for the conservation of animals only.
  1. It protects animals only
  2. It allows operations such as harvesting of timber, collection of forest products, private ownership rights and forestry operations, provided it does not affect animals adversely
Gene sanctuary is an area where plants are conserved.
Other projects for the conservation of animals are Project Tiger, Gir Lion Project, Crocodile breeding project, project elephant etc
 
Advantages of in-situ conservation
  1. It is cheap and convenient
  2. Species get adjusted to natural disasters like drought, floods, forest fires etc.
Disadvantages of in-situ conservation
  1. A large surface area of earth is required to preserve biodiversity
  2. Maintenance is not proper due to shortage of staff and pollution
Ex-situ conservation
Ex-situ conservation involves protection of flora and fauna outside their natural habitats. This type of conservation is mainly done for conservation of crop varieties and wild relatives of crops.
  1. Ex-situ conservation involves maintenance and breeding of endangered plant and animal species under controlled conditions
  2. It identifies those species that are at a high risk of extinction
  3. It prefers species that are important for man in the near future among the endangered species.
Important centers of ex-situ conservation:
  1. Botanical gardens
  2. Seed banks
  3. Microbial culture collections
  4. Tissue and cell cultures
  5. Museums and
  6. Zoological gardens
Methods of ex-situ conservation
National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NPBGR) It is located in New Delhi and uses the Cryopreservation Technique to preserve agricultural and horticultural crops. Cryopreservation technique involves using liquid nitrogen at -196 C. Varieties of rice, turnip, radish, tomato, onion, carrot, chilli, tobacco have been successfully preserved for years using this technique.
 
National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NPAGR) It is located in Karnal, Haryana and preserves the semen of domesticated bovine animals.
 
National Facility for Plant Tissue Culture Repository (NFPTCR) In this facility, conservation of varieties of crop plants or trees is done using tissue culture. This facility has been created within the NPBGR.
 
Advantages of Ex-situ conservation
  1. Survival of endangered species is increasing due to special care and attention
  2. In captive breeding the animals are assured of food, water, shelter and security thereby have a longer life span
  3. It is carried-out in cases of endangered species that do not have any chance of survival in the wild
Disadvantages of Ex-situ conservation
  1. It is an expensive method
  2. Freedom of wildlife is lost
  3. Animals cannot survive in the natural environment

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