One of the most pressing environmental issues today is the conservation of biodiversity. Many factors threaten the world’s biological heritage. The challenge is for nations, government agencies, organisations and individuals to protect and enhance biological diversity, while continuing to meet people’s needs for natural resources. Biodiversity is the existence of a large number of different kinds of animals and plants which make a balanced environment. Biodiversity is the result of 3.5 billion years of evolution. Man is always dependent on the biodiversity for numerous reasons. However during the last century, decreases in biodiversity have been increasingly observed. Therefore it is necessary to conserve our biodiversity before it is gone. Conservation of biodiversity has to be undertaken on a global scale. Efforts have to be made to conserve biodiversity by conserving plants and wildlife. There are two main ways to conserve biodiversity. These are termed ex situ and in situ. Ex situ conservation involves conservation activities especially of endangered species outside their natural habitat. It is done through establishment of zoos, botanical gardens, genetic resource centres and cultural collection.
In situ conservation is the conservation of species in their natural habitat. In situ conservation maintains not only the genetic diversity of species, but also the evolutionary adaptations that enable them to adapt continually to shifting environmental conditions. In situ conservation measures involve designating specific areas as protected sites. This is done through establishment of protected areas such as national parks, bird sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, natural reserves, reserves and protected forests and cultural landscapes etc. Although, India is a home to more than 89,000 species of animals and 47,000 species of plants, 1,300 plant species are endangered and 20 species are extinct and many more animal species are endangered and extinct.
However, India has taken many efforts to improve wildlife and plant species. Wildlife conservation has been very much in forefront of government policy and India is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Programmes have also been launched for scientific management and wise use of wetlands, mangroves and coral reef ecosystems. Project Tiger, Project Rhino, Project Great Indian Bustard and many other eco-developmental projects have been introduced. 89 national parks, 14 biosphere reserves, 490 wildlife sanctuaries and zoological garden have been set up to take care of natural heritage. We must also do what we can to conserve biodiversity. Following are some conservation actions that we can take up: Plant more plants and trees.
Curb our greed for products made out of animal parts like skin, fur, ivory, bones, nails, etc., to discourage wildlife traders and poachers, and spare the lives of the remaining animals. Adopt vegetarianism which would require fewer animals to be fattened for slaughtering and more plants to be grown for food. Avoid using insecticides, pesticides and inorganic fertilizers and try to use natural plant- based substitutes wherever possible. Paper and cloth should replace non-biodegradable plastic and polyester which damage the ecosystem. Promote bio-farming which is less intensive and environmental-friendly. Make use of sustainable technologies like smokeless chulhas, ground water recharging unit, wind energy, solar power, etc. Biodiversity plays a crucial part in our life and as human beings it is our duty to conserve and develop it. From today let us join hands and start conserving biodiversity. Even a small effort can make a great change.