• Biodiversity: Immense rich in wildlife and cultivated species, diverse in form and function.
• Flora and Fauna in India: This is estimated that 10% of India’s recorded wild flora and 20% of its mammals are on threatened list.
• Many of these have been categorised as critical and are on verge of extinction such as:
(1) Animals: Cheetah [extinct], pink-headed duck, mountain quail, forest spotted owlet
(2) Plants: Madhuca insignis [wild variety of mahua] and hubbardia heptaneuron [a species of grass]
Different Category of Plants and Animals Species
• following classification is done based on International union for conservation of Nature and natural resources [IUCN].
(1) Normal species: Species whose population are considered to be normal for survival such as cow, goat.
(2) Endangered species: Whose population faces danger of extinction. For eg. Black buck, crocodile, Indian rhino.
(3) Vulnerable species: Species whose population has declined to levels from where it is likely to move into endangered category in near future.
(4) Rare species: Whose population is small and may move into endangered or vulnerable category if negative factor continues such as brown bear, desert fox.
(5) Endemic species: Whose population is found in some particular areas generally isolated by nature such as Andaman teal, Nicobar pigeon.
(6) Extinct species: Species which are not found after searches of known or likely areas where they may occur. Ex- Asiatic Cheetah, pink head duck.
Causes of Depletion of Flora and Fauna
• After Independence agricultural activities expanded and depletion increased.
• Grazing and fuel wood collection affect forests. Hunting, poaching, environmental pollution, poisoning & forests fire have led to a decrease in India’s biodiversity.
Steps taken to Protect and Conserve Wildlife
• Wildlife protection act 1972: It has various provisions for protecting habitats. An all India list of protected species was published. thrust of programme was towards protecting remaining population of certain endangered species by banning hunting, giving legal protection to their habitats, and restricting trade in wildlife.
(1) Central Government announced several projects for protecting specific animals, which were gravely threatened, including tiger, one-horned rhinoceros.
(2) plants were added to list for first time in 1991.
• Project Tiger [Protection] act, 1973: This is one of well-publicised wildlife campaigns for Saving Tigers.
• Types of Forests and Wildlife
(1) Reserved forests: Most valuable forest, more than half of forests comes under. Reserved forests.
(2) Protected forests: Protected from further depletion, 1/3rd of total forest is counted as protected forest.
(3) Unclassed forests: Other forests and wastelands belonging to government, private individuals and even communities.
• Reserved and protected forests are called permanent forests.-Maintained for producing timber and other protective reasons . largest area under permanent forest is in Madhya Pradesh.
• Sacred groves: Nature worship is an old tribal belief based on premise that all creations of nature have to be protected. Such beliefs have preserved several virgin forests in pristine form known as sacred groves [the forest of God and Goddesses].
• Himalayan yew [Taxus wallachiana]: It is medicinal plant found in various parts of Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.
Note: Asian cheetah-This is world’s fastest land mammal and is nearly extinct due to decline of available habitat and prey. species was declared extinct in India long back in 1952.
• Buxa Tiger Reserve is in West Bengal.
Community and Conservation
• In India government help local communities to conserve flora & fauna.
• In Rajasthan, villagers fought against mining to conserve Sariska Tiger Reserve.
• One of most famous movement Chipko Movement is not only famous in Himalayas but is practiced as many communities.
• Another step taken for chemical free crop production as Beej Bachao in Tehri and Navdanya.
• Since 1988 Joint forest management [JFM] set a good example by involving local communities for restoration of degraded forests.
• Odisha passed first resolution for joint forest management.