Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Biodiversity of India’ for class 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Biodiversity of India’ especially written for kids, school and college students.
Essay on Biodiversity of India
- Essay on the Introduction to Biodiversity
- Essay on the Features of Indian Biodiversity
- Essay on Biodiversity Conservation Efforts in India
- Essay on People and Government’s Participation in Biodiversity Conservation
Essay # 1. Introduction to Biodiversity:
India has a great wealth of biodiversity in its forests, wetlands and marine areas. It has wide range of habitats ranging from tropical rainforest to alpine vegetation and from temperate forests to coastal wetlands. India consists of fertile river plains and high plateaus and several major rivers including the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus. India shows a great diversity in climate, topography and geology hence very rich in biodiversity. The Ministry of Environment and Forests Govt. of India (2000) records 47,000 species of plants and 81000 species of animals.
This is about 7% and 6.5% respectively of global flora and fauna. About 5000 species of flowering plants have their origin in India. India is said to be the centre of origin of 160 species of crop plants and 320 species of wild relatives of cultivated crops. India has 372 different mammals (rated eighth highest in world), 1228 species of birds (eighth in world), 428 species of reptiles (fifth in world). India has more than 50,000 species of insects including 13000 butterflies and moths.
Essay # 2. Features of Indian Biodiversity:
Interesting features of Indian biodiversity are:
1. Hot Spots of Biodiversity:
Hot spots are areas that are extremely rich in species have high endemism (species confined to a particular region), and are under constant threat.
Concepts of hot spots of biodiversity was developed by Norman Myers in 1988. He identified them priority areas for in situ conservation. Certain areas in various parts of world are known with mega biodiversity of species. India contributes about 8 per cent of global biodiversity, although it bears only 2.4 per cent of land area of world. These areas are particularly rich in floral wealth and endemism, not only in flowering plants but also in reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and some mammals.
Criteria for identifying the hot spots are:
1. Number of endemic species (species confined only to that area).
2. Degree of threat.
Number of hot spots (covering about 1.4 per cent of land area) identified are 25. Few important are: Brazil’s cerrado. Central Chile, California floristic province, Madagascar, Eastern arc and coastal forests of Tanzania/ Kenya, West African forests. Cape floristic province. Succulent karoo, Mediterranean basin, Caucasus, Indo- Burma, South Central China, etc.
Out of above 25, 15 are reported in tropical forests, 5 in mediterranean type zones, 9 of islands. 16 are found in tropics. About 20 per cent of human population is inhabited in hot spot areas. Out of 25 hot spots two are found in India.
a. Eastern Himalyan Hot Spot:
Its boundary extends from North Eastern India to Bhutan. It is specially rich in some endemic plants. Many primitive families like Magnoliaceae and Winteraceae are represented here. Some plants of interest found here are Magnolia and Betula. Here temperate forests are found at height of 1780-3500 metres. Many deep valleys are also present here.
b. Western Ghat Hot Spot:
Such evergreen forests lie at height of about 500-1500 metres in states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerela. Two main centres of biodiversity are Agasthyamalai hills and silent valley.
2. Biogeographical Regions of India:
Biogeography is the study of origin, environmental relationship and distribution of plants and animals.
Strong equations have been suggested between various geographical factors and the extent of biodiversity. For instance, as a general rule, the larger the size of an area, the greater the number of species found in. it. Indeed, even in the case of the population of a single species, a larger spread is more likely to-lead to diverse adaptations among different populations and thereby to speciation.
This is one overwhelming justification for larger-sized conservation areas-though of course it is also true that a number of smaller protected areas in more diverse areas could help to conserve a larger biodiversity. Other geographical variables include latitude, elevation, and precipitation.
Elevation is inversely related, with higher diversities found at lower heights, and very poor diversity at the upper extreme of altitude. India has a mixture of wild and cultivated habitats, giving rise to highly specialized biodiversity which is specific to the confluence of two or more habitats.
Following 10 biogeographical regions have been identified in India:
1. Trans-Himalaya with 2 provinces.
2. Himalaya with 4 provinces.
3. Desert (Kutch and Thar) with 2 provinces.
4. Semi-arid zone with 2 provinces.
5. Western-Ghats with 2 provinces.
6. Deccan Pennisula with 5 provinces.
7. Gangetic plain with 2 provinces.
8. North East India with 2 provinces.
9. Indian Islands with 2 provinces.
10. Marine coasts with 3 provinces.
3. India as Biocentre of Origin of Cultivated Plants:
India is one of the 12 centres of ‘origin of cultivated plants’. India has been considered as the origin place of 167 cultivated plant species and more than 320 their wild relatives. India is centre of origin of 30,000 – 50,000 varieties of rice, sugarcane, turmeric, ginger, mango, pigeon-pea etc.
4. World Heritage Sites:
India is home to 5 world heritage sites (Table 15.6) and 6 Ramsar wetlands, amongst the protected areas. Heritage sites are the places that attract tourists.
5. There are 33 Botanical gardens, 89 national parks 492 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 14 biosphere reserves in India.
6. About 30% of world’s recorded flora is endemic to India.
7. There are about 47,000 species of plants and 81,000 species of animals identified in India. About 60% of the above diversity has been reported from Western Ghats, which is one of the hot spots of diversity in India. Out of the above 81,000 animal species recorded from India, 372 are mammals, 1228 are birds, 428 reptiles, 200 amphibians, 2550 fishes, about 57,000 insects and 5025 molluscs and many other species of invertebrates.
8. India has 10 biogeographic zones and 26 biotic provinces, which represent all the major ecosystems of the world.
Essay # 3. Biodiversity Conservation Efforts in India:
India is with various biogeographical provinces ranging from the cold deserts of Laddakh and Spiti to the hot deserts of Thar; the temperate forest in Himalayas to the lush green tropical rain forest of the Kerala. In India, there are large fresh-water bodies such as the Wular and the Manasbal lakes in Kashmir, the Chilka in Orissa and Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh and rich coast line and Coral reefs of the Deccan.
Owing to its diverse climate and physical conditions, India has a very rich and varied flora and fauna. There are about 75,000 species of animals, of which 340 species are mammals, 1,200 species of birds, 420 species of reptiles, 140 species of amphibians, 2,000 species of fishes, 5,000 species of insects, 4,000 species of molluscs and other invertebrates.
India has wide diversity of 167 cultivated species and 320 wild relatives of crop plants.
Some of biodiversity conservation methods adopted in India are:
With an aim to protect, preserve and propagate the varied wildlife, the Government of India (GOI) has taken following steps:
1. Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL) was constituted in 1952.
The main functions of IBWL are:
(i) To sponser the setting up of national park, sanctuaries and gardens.
(ii) To devise means for protection of wildlife and
(iii) To promote public interest in wildlife.
2. Since 1955, a wildlife week (first week of October) is being observed to educate the people about the importance and need of conservation of wildlife.
3. In 1972, a Wildlife (Protection) Act was established.
(a) Hunting and trade of the products of useful animal wildlife should be regulated.
(b) Trade in rare and endangered species should be banned.
(c) National parks and sanctuaries should be created. This act has been adopted by all the states except Jammu and Kashmir which has its own similar act.
4. National Wildlife Action Plan was introduced in 1983-84. It requires rehabilitation of endangered species by captive breeding.
5. Creation of National parks and Biosphere reserves was started in 1986.
6. Certain private societies like the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Wildlife Preservation Society of India (WPSI) were started for the conservation of wild life. WPSI was established in 1958 with its headquarter at Dehra Dun while BNHS is a nongovernment body dedicated to cause of nature conservation and was established in 1983.
7. Botanical Survey of India (BSD and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have been established. These have their own wildlife protection programmes.
8. Wild life study has been incorporated in the school and college curricula to aware the students about the need of conservation of wildlife.
9. A new breeds of sleuths, wildlife forensic scientists, is emerging in India, to curb rising crimes against wildlife supported by a booming international trade in wildlife parts. A wildlife forensic unit has been set up recently at Wildlife Institute of India (WII) at Dehra Dun.
10. National Bureau of Plant, Animal and Fish Genetic Resources. It has number of programmes to collect and conserve germplasm of plants and animals in seed gene banks and field gene banks conservation.
Essay # 4. People and Government’s Participation in Biodiversity Conservation:
As we gradually become aware of how serious biodiversity losses have become, we are slowly laws and treaties to protect these assets. This task of conservation needs the participation of users and stakeholder. Simply identifying species at risk cannot initiate protection. People are to be educated in this regard. They will have to conserve this biodiversity. Government of India is signatory to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). CBD was established in 1992- 93 after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio.
The aims of CBD are:
(i) To conserve the biodiversity.
(ii) To use the biodiversity and its components in a sustainable way.
(iii) Equitable distribution of benefits of biodiversity.
i. Government of India passed Biodiversity Bill in December 2003. It seeks checking of biopiracy. It will prevent the use of India biodiversity by foreigners with giving share to India. The main aim of this legislation is to protect the Indian biodiversity.
ii. A Biodiversity Board has been formed with its head office at Chennai. It will ensure the proper and legitimate use of Indian biodiversity with aiming at equitable sharing of benefits.
iii. In Puttavam Village in Kerala declared their complete control on biodiversity of their area (1996). They formed a Forum of Protection of People’s Biodiversity and prepared a list of all species found in their area.
iv. Few other organisation working for conservation of Biodiversity are:
(a) The Foundation of Revitalization of Local Health Tradition, Bangalore.
(b) The Centre for Indian Knowledge System Chennai.
(c) Beej Baehao Andolan, Tehri Garhwal.
(d) The Green Foundation, Bangalore.
Women can also play important role in this regard. In areas where women are mainly working as food producers, they have major involvement in preservation and maintenance of quality seed.
1. There are more than 20,000 species of ants, 3,00,000 species of beetles, 28,000 species of fishes and 20,000 species of orchids.
2. According to Edward Wilson (a sociobiologist), biodiversity is the combined diversity at all the levels of biological organisation.
3. India has more than 50,000 genetically different strains of rice and 1,000 varieties of mango.
4. Potency and concentration of resperine in plant Rau- wolfia vomitoria differs in different Himalayan ranges.
5. Western Ghats exhibit more amphibian species diversity when compared with Eastern Ghats.
6. Ecological diversity in India bears greater ecosystem than Scandinavian country like Norway with its deserts, rainforests, coral reefs, wetlands, mangroves etc.
7. Insects, among animals show species richness of total i.e. out of every 10 animals, 7 are insects.
8. Number of fungi species is higher than total number of fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
9. India bears 8.1 per cent of all global species diversity. However, it has only 2.4 per cent of total world’s land area.
10. As per estimate given by Robert May, about 1,00,000 plant species and about 3,00,000 animal species are yet to be discovered in India. Because according to Robert May only 22 per cent of total species have been studied so far.
11. India is one of the 12 mega diversity nations of the world.
12. When one moves from equator to poles, number of species become less and less.
13. In tropics (latitudinal range of 23.5° N to 23.5°S) species richness is higher than temperate or polar regions
14. Tropical areas, having high rainfall throughout the year, so with high relative humidity are with evergreen forests and abundant fauna.
15. In areas with heavy rainfall during summer and low during winter are characterized by grasslands.
16. Loss of biodiversity is responsible for:
(i) Decreasing rate of plant population
(ii) More susceptibility to environmental disturbances like drought
(iii) Increased variability in processes like plant productivity, water use and pest and disease cycles.
17. Steller’s sea cow and passenger pigeon have become extinct due to human over exploitation
18. Altitudinal Zones. As many as four temperature based terrestrial altitudinal zones are differentiated in Himalayas, each having specific vegetation type: alpine (having Rhodendron, Juniperus), temperate (mainly conifers, oaks and Magnolia), tropical and subtropical zones (having mixed forests, bamboos, sal, etc.).
19. Latitudinal Zones. As many as six temperature based terrestrial latitudinal zones are differentiated north of equator, each being characterized by a specific vegetation type e.g. Snow, tundra, coniferous.
20. Colombia located near the equator exhibit 1,400 species of birds. New York has 105 bird species at 41”N and in Greenland 56 bird species have been reported with its location at 71°N. India lying mainly in tropical latitude bears 1,200 bird species.
21. Most species rich area is Amazonian rain forest in South America with:
(i) Plants: 40,000 species
(ii) Fishes: 3,000 species
(iii) Birds: 1,300 species
(iv) Mammals: 427 species
(v) Amphibians: 427 species
(vi) Reptiles: 378 species
(vii) Invertebrates: 1,25,000 species
22. Amazon forests are producing 20 per cent of total oxygen by process of photosynthesis.
23. In edemism, species is confined to a specific region and not found at any other place.
24. Tilman in his experiments found that plots with more species richness exhibited little variation in total biomass. He found increased biodiversity leads to higher biomass production.
25. Few examples of recent extinctions are: Dodo (Mauritius), Quagga (Africa), Thylacine (Australia), Steller’s sea cow (Russia) and Bali, Javan and Caspian species of tiger.