India as a Biodiversity Hotspot: Overview

India as a Biodiversity Hotspot: Overview

Question: India is one of the megadiverse countries with infinite variety of flora and fauna. Discuss.

- Around 17 of the world’s 190 nations contain 70% of its biodiversity earning the title megadiverse

- India is one of these megadiverse nations with 2.5% of the land area

- India accounts for 7 to 8 percent of all the species in the world including 91,000 species of animals and 45,500 plant species

- India is also home to 10 bio-geographic regions

- India has many endemic species. Around 12.6% of mammals, 4.5% of birds, 55.8% of amphibians, 45.8% of reptiles and 33% of the Indian plants are endemic in that they are found nowhere else in the world

- It has been scientifically estimated that close to 4,00,000 more species may be present in India which need to be described and recorded

- Baseline dateline on existing species and their macro and micro habitats are also inadequate

- Biodiversity has risen in India over past 3.5 billion years of evolutionary history

- Its sustainable use has always been a crucial part of the Indian culture

- India is also home to 1/5th of the world’s population and is seeing a change in economy from an agrarian society to a diversified one resulting in mounting pressure on land use

- This has resulted in loss and fragmentation of natural habitats which has been identified as the primary threat to biodiversity.

- India is one of 3 of 34 global biodiversity hotspots which is facing considerable conservation threats

- The value of India’s biodiversity for sustaining and nourishing human societies is considerable For example, the ecosystem services from forested watersheds of two great mountain chains, Himalayas and Western Ghats support millions of people in India

Facts and Stats

- Biological Diversity Act 2002 was passed in India to attain the objectives of the United Nations CBD/Convention on Biological Diversity

- This convention recognises the right of states to employ their own biological resources

- Act also aims at conservation of biological resources and associated knowledge

- For attaining the objectives of the Act, the National Biodiversity Authority has been established in Chennai
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