Additional Information

Lesson 14:Biodiversity and its conservation

Additional Information

National parks:

National parks are setup for preserving flora, fauna and landscape of an area. A national park is an area which is strictly reserved for the betterment of the wildlife and where activities like forestry, grazing and cultivation are not permitted. Some of the famous national parks in India are:
  • Bandhavgarh National park:

It is situated in Madhya Pradesh. It is famous for its white tiger.

  • Corbett National park:

It is India’s first and finest national park spread along the banks of the Ramganga river in the foothills of the Himalayas. This wildlife park supports the tiger, deer, wild boars, elephant, common otter, etc.

  • Dudhwa National park:

This national park in North India comprises sal forests, marshes and grasslands, which harbor a wide variety of wildlife. The park is famous for the reintroduced one – horned rhino and and swamp deer. Dhudhwa has the distinction of having the largest surviving population of this endangered species. The other animals found in large numbers are the Indian one – horned rhinoceros and the wild elephant. Other animals found in Dhudhwa are jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats, jackals, civets, sloth bears, sambhar, otters, crocodiles and chital.

  • Kaziranga National park:

It is a small national park located on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. This national park covers an area of around 450 sq. km the swamps and tall elephant grass makes it an ideal habitat for the Indian one horned rhino. Besides the rhino, the park has elephants, bisons, swamp deers, hog deer, sloth bears, tigers, leopard cats, jungle cats, otters, capped langurs, hoolock gibbons, wild boars, jackals, wild buffaloes, pythons, monitor lizards, and many more species of animals.

  • Kanha National park:

The kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh is a tiger reserve, spread out over 2000 sq. km of area. This wildlife park has bamboos and sal trees. kanha National Park is a wildlife reserve comprising a variety of smaller animals and birds like the porcupine, grey langur, mongoose, hyena, jungle cat or leopard.

  • Pench National park:

Pench National park, nestling in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura hills, is named after Pench River, which flows from north to south through the Pench National park. It is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh. The reserve was recently included under the “Project Tiger Reserve”.

  • The Sunderban National park:

It is the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Royal Bengal Tiger and the largest mangrove forest in the world. It is the home of more than 400 tigers. Chintal, deer and rhesus monkey, etc., is also found there.

  • Ranthambore National park:

This national park in North India has turned into a heaven for tigers. The park showcases over 250 species of birds, more than 10 kinds of reptiles like the marsh crocodile and numerous snakes. But it is the tiger, which is the star attraction in the park along with sambhars, chintals, nilgais, gazelles and wild boars.

  • Dachigam National park:

Dachigam National park in Jammu and Kashmir was declared a national park in 1951, owing to a strictly enforced conservation programme, to preserve the hangul population and the Kashmiri stag.

Sanctuaries are places where the killing or capturing of any animal is prohibited except under orders of the authorities concerned. They provide protection and optimum living conditions to wild animals. Some of the sanctuaries are given below:

  • Gir National Park and Sanctuary:

It is the sole surviving natural habitat of the Asiatic lions. Popularly known as Sasangir, this national park is blessed with most diverse wild creatures.

  • Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Jaldapara wildlife Sanctuary:

Located in West Bengal, it is the habitat of rhinoceros, gaur, wild buffalo, sambhar, swamp deer, etc.

  • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park:

Assam is the state of great one – horned rhino. Beside the Khaziranga, there is Manas, another habitat of rhinoceros, located in one of the remotest region among the foothills of the Himalayas.

  • Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary:

It is located in Rajasthan and famous for all kinds of indigenous nesting water birds and migratory birds. Drier part of the marshy sanctuary includes spotted deer, black buck, sambhar, blue bull, wild boar and python.

  • Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary:

It is the most visited sanctuary in India. It is located in Rajasthan near Alwar. Sariska was previously considered as National park. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958 and came under the “Project Tiger” in 1979.
Two important sanctuaries meant for preservation of coastal ecosystem are the Chilika Lake in Orissa and point Calimere in Tamil Nadu.

Biosphere reserves (bio-reserves)
During the past three decades the concept of Biosphere reserve has been evolved by the man and Biosphere (MAB) programme of the UNSECO. Each biosphere reserve is intended to fulfil three basic functions, which are complementary and mutually reinforcing: the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species, and biodiversity; the development of socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable economic and human infrastructure; and the provision of logistical support for research, education, and information exchange related to both conservation and development. The sustainable development function, in particular, is a distinguishing feature of biosphere reserves.
Planning and management of each reserve involves the participation of public authorities, local communities, and private interests. National Committees are responsible for preparing reserve nominations for consideration by the program's Inter­national Coordinating Council. The Director General of the UNESCO notifies the nominating nation of the Council's decision.
The international network of biosphere reserves is expanding every year, both in terms of the number of sites and the number of countries hosting the reserves and the network is constantly evolving to meet the dual needs of conservation and sustainable development for local communities.
India has identified 13 areas to be declared as biosphere reserves. Of these, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Including parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu was declared in 1986 and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in 1988. A biosphere reserve may be divided into three zones --

  • Core zone (where no human activity is permitted)
  • Buffer zone (where limited human activity is performed)
  • Manipulated zone (where a large number of human activities will go on)

Reasons for loss of biodiversity:
A summary of the reasons for loss of biodiversity are

  1. Destruction of forests
  2. Overexploitation of bio-resources
  3. Overgrazing
  4. Shifting cultivation
  5. Urbanization
  6. Industrialization
  7. Illegal trade
  8. Smuggling and bio-piracy
  9. Soil degradation and erosion
  10. Diminishing green cover
  11. Mining for ores, roads, river valley projects
  12. Exploitation of timber resources
  13. Exploitation of non-timber forest produce (NTFP)
  14. Loss of land fertility
  15. De-vegetation
  16. Drought and famine
  17. Desertification
  18. Tourism business
  19. Unequal globalization
  20. Greed rather than need

Biopiracy means the unauthorised and uncompensated use of biological resources. It can also be explained as biological theft - illegal collection of indigenous plants by corporations who patent them for their own use. Particular activities usually covered by the term are :

  • Unauthorized use of biological resources, e.g., plants, animals, organs, micro-organisms, genes.
  • Unauthorized use of traditional community’s knowledge on biological resources.
  • Unequal share of benefits between a patent holder and the indigenous community whose resource and/or knowledge has been used.

The concept of Biopiracy assumes that it is a natural right to own plants, animals and human genes. For many indigenous people, nature and culture are in dissociable. Resources belong to the community, private property has no meaning. They argue that what is "wrong" is not so much the appropriation of somebody else's property, but rather the idea that natural resources, which should stay public, can be privatized.

International bodies concerned about the biodiversity degradation:
The following international bodies get concerned about the biodiversity degradation:

  • WWF – Worldwide Fund for Nature
  • UNEP – United Nations Environmental Protection
  • IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

The eroding biodiversity components are assigned different status as follows:

Types of animal



Dodo, Wooly mammoth, Thylacine ankylosaur, Golden toad


Pink fairy armadillo, Red panda


Cheetah, British camel

Threatened - T
Near threatened - NT
Vulnerable - VU
Endangered - EN
Critically endangered - CEN
Extinct - EX

Endangered: A species whose numbers are reduced to the point that it is in danger of becoming extinct are called endangered species. Eg: Rhino, elephant, Siberian Crane, Golden Lungur.

Threatened: Species whose numbers are low enough or whose population trend suggests that it may become endangered if corrective action is not taken are called threatened species. Eg: Bengal fox, Asiatic Cheetah.

Last modified: Friday, 30 December 2011, 6:49 AM