India-A mega diversity Nation

6 June 2016

India has been described as one of 12 mega-diversity countries possessing a rich means of all living organisms when biodiversity is viewed as a whole. The greater the multi-diversity of species, greater is the contribution to the biodiversity. India’s rich biological diversity – its immense range of ecosystems, species and genetic forms is by virtue of its tropical location, climate and physical features. India’s fabulous biodiversity is estimated to be over 45,000 plant species representing about seven percent of the world’s flora; and its bewildering variety of animal life represents 6.5 per cent of world’s fauna.

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As one of the oldest and largest agriculture societies, India has also a striking variety of at least 166 species of crop plants and 320 species of wild relatives of cultivated crops. To a large extent, the survival of our biodiversity depends on how best the tribals are looked after. To preserve our rich biodiversity, nine biosphere reserves are set up in specific “biogeographic” zones: the biggest one is in the Deccan Peninsula in the Nilgiris covering Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

India has a very rich diversity of wild plants and animals, and is considered to be one of the mega-diversity country. Its share of the global biodiversity is about 8.6% of wild plant animal species respectively. Estimates for the number of micro-organism species are not available.

Parallel to this enormous diversity in domesticated animal such as buffalo, goat, sheep, pig, poultry, horse, ponies, camels, and yak. As per American standards, the productivity of these animals is very poor, but having undergone periods of rigorous selection, race are hardy, adaptable to heat and parasitic stresses and can survive o poor roughage. A great variety also exists among our crops. For example, Indian farmers probaly grew over 30,000 varieties of rice aloe.

Both plant and animal species are under threat of extinction primarily due to modification, degradation and loss of their habitats, causes by various developmental projects like industries, urban housing complexes, rail, road, and other communication networks, over exploitation, introduction of exotic species, pollution and global warming. Estimates show that about 50 species are being drawn to extinction every day, and at this rate about 25% of present day biodiversity is likely to become extinct during the next 20-30 years if appropriate are not taken for its conservation. It is therefore, the prime responsibility of all scientists and technocrats to ensure that developmental activities promoted by them cause no/ minimal loss to biodiversity of an area.

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