What is Biodiversity?
||Biodiversity is the variety and differences 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 genetic diversity within and between species and of ecosystems. India is one of the mega biodiversity centres in the world and has two of the world's 18 'biodiversity hotspots' located in the Western Ghats and in the Eastern Himalayas (Myers 1999).
The forest cover in these areas is very dense and diverse and of pristine beauty, and incredible biodiversity. The sacred groves of India are some of the areas in the country where the richness of biodiversity has been well preserved. The Thar Desert and the Himalayas are two regions rich in biodiversity in India. There are 89 national parks and 504 wildlife sanctuaries in the country, the Chilika Lake being one of them. This lake is also an important wetland area According to an MoEF Report (1996), the country is estimated to have over 45,000 plant species and 81,000 animal species representing 7% of the world's flora and 6.5% of its fauna. The 1999 figures are 49,219 plant species representing 12.5% and 81,251 animal species representing 6.6%.
Causes for Biodiversity Loss?
- Increasing human population led to increasing consumption levels
- Decreasing efficiency of use of natural resources
- Above two functions are led to overexploitation and manipulation of ecosystems.
- Trade in wildlife, such as rhino horn, has led to the extinction of species.
- The Government of India is setting up biosphere reserves in different parts of the country.
- These are multipurpose protected areas to preserve the genetic diversity in different ecosystems.
- A number of NGOs are being involved in the programme to create awareness.
What are the ways to preserve Biodiversity?
- Do not waste paper, use only as much as you require. Do not scribble on it or tearing it off after writing just a line or two.
- Use recycle paper as far as possible.
- Try to use cloth towels and recycled paper to dry and wipe your hands, limit the use of paper towels.
- Do not throw away the old cards; reuse them to send notes to your friends.
- Try to reuse the envelopes wherever possible.
- Do not keep a bird as a pet as it will have to be kept in a cage.
- Look after the pets in your house well.
- Feel closer to the birds and animals, sit in the park and feed the squirrels, and birds.
- Maintain a list of the birds that visit your park or the garden outside your house. Compare notes with your friends and see who can list more birds.
- Put leaves and petals of different plants between the pages of your books. Once they are dry you can use them to make cards, etc.