Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity conservation refers to the protection, upliftment, and management of biodiversity in order to derive sustainable benefits for present and future generations.

In-situ Conservation

In-situ conservation of biodiversity is the conservation of species within their natural habitat. In this method, the natural ecosystem is maintained and protected.

The in-situ conservation has several advantages. Following are the important advantages of in-situ conservation:

  1. It is a cost-effective and convenient method of conserving biodiversity.
  2. A large number of living organisms can be conserved simultaneously.
  3. Since the organisms are in a natural ecosystem, they can evolve better and can easily adjust to different environmental conditions.

Certain protected areas where in-situ conservation takes place include national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves.

National Parks

These are small reserves maintained by the government. Its boundaries are well demarcated and human activities such as grazing, forestry, habitat and cultivation are prohibited. For eg., Kanha National Park, and Bandipur National Park.

Wildlife Sanctuaries

These are the regions where only wild animals are found. Human activities such as timber harvesting, cultivation, collection of woods and other forest products are allowed here as long as they do not interfere with the conservation project. Also, tourists visit these places for recreation.

Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere reserves are multi-purpose protected areas where the wildlife, traditional lifestyle of the inhabitants and domesticated plants and animals are protected. Tourist and research activities are permitted here.

Ex-situ Conservation

Ex-situ conservation of biodiversity involves the breeding and maintenance of endangered species in artificial ecosystems such as zoos, nurseries, botanical gardens, gene banks, etc. There is less competition for food, water and space among the organisms.

Ex-situ conservation has the following advantages:

  1. The animals are provided with a longer time and breeding activity.
  2. The species bred in captivity can be reintroduced in the wild.
  3. Genetic techniques can be used for the preservation of endangered species.

Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation

Following are the important strategies for biodiversity conservation:

  1. All the varieties of food, timber plants, livestock, microbes and agricultural animals should be conserved.
  2. All the economically important organisms should be identified and conserved.
  3. Unique ecosystems should be preserved first.
  4. The resources should be utilized efficiently.
  5. Poaching and hunting of wild animals should be prevented.
  6. The reserves and protected areas should be developed carefully.
  7. The levels of pollutants should be reduced in the environment.
  8. Deforestation should be strictly prohibited.
  9. Environmental laws should be followed strictly.
  10. The useful and endangered species of plants and animals should be conserved in their nature as well as artificial habitats.
  11. Public awareness should be created regarding biodiversity conservation and its importance.

Why should you conserve Biodiversity?

It is believed that an area with higher species abundance has a more stable environment compared to an area with lower species abundance. We can further claim the necessity of biodiversity by considering our degree of dependency on the environment. We depend directly on various species of plants for our various needs. Similarly, we depend on various species of animals and microbes for different reasons.

Biodiversity is being lost due to the loss of habitat, over-exploitation of resources, climatic changes, pollution, invasive exotic species, diseases, hunting, etc. Since it provides us with several economic and ethical benefits and adds aesthetic value, it is very important to conserve biodiversity.

When the habitat is fragmented, isolated populations lose genetic diversity, leaving them more vulnerable to changing environmental conditions and with a higher risk of extinction.