(a) Why should we conserve biodiversity? How can we do it? (2)
(b) Explain the importance of biodiversity hot-spots and sacred groves. (3)
Reasons to conserve biodiversity.
(a) Ethical arguments in favour of conservation of biodiversity can be grouped into three catagories:
(i) Narrowly utilitarian reasons: Humans derive countless direct economic benefits from nature
like food (cereals, pulses, fruits) firewood, fibre, construction material, industrial products
(tannins, lubricants, dyes, resins perfumes) and medicinal products.
(ii) Broadly utilitarian reasons: Biodiversity plays a major role in providing ecosystem services,
which cannot give a price tag. They are
- production of oxygen.
- pollination of flowers, without which fruits/ seeds are not produced.
- aesthetic pleasures, like bird watching, watching spring flower, walking through the thick
forest, waking up to bulbul's song, etc.
(iii) Ethical reason: Every species has an intrinsic value, even if it is not of any economic
value to us. It is our moral duty to care for their well being and pass on the biological
legacy in a proper form to our further generation.
we can conserve biodiversity by:
In-situ and Ex-situ conservation.
Two types of desirable aproaches to conserve biodiversity are:
(i) In-situ conservation
(i) In-situ conservation: It is the most appropriate method to maintain species of wild animals and plants in their natural habitats. The common natural habitats that have been set for in-situ conservation of wild animals and plants include:
(a) National parks
(b) Biosphere reserves.
(ii) Ex-situ conservation: Botanical gardens, arborata, zoological gardens, aquaria, all these approaches help to conserve species and population diversity outside the natural habitats.
(a) Sacred plants and home gardens.
(b) Seed banks, field gene banks, cryopreservation.
(b) Biodiversity hot-spots. These are the regions with very high levels of species richness and high degree of endemism, i.e., species confined to that region are found anywhere alse. These hot-spots are also regions of accelerated habitat loss. The number of species they collectively harbour is extremely high.
Three hot-spots- Western Ghats, Sri Lanka-Indo Burma and Himalayas are the hot-spots covering our country.
Sacred groves. These are tracts of forest in which all the trees and wild life within are venerated and given total protection. They harbour large number of rare and threatened plants, for example, Aravali hills in Rajasthan. (5)