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Biodiversity in India

Biodiversity in India

  • India possesses 2.4% of the total land area but 7% of the total global species, despite supporting 17.5% of the global population.

Modes of Conservation of Biodiversity

Ex situ Conservation

  • It refers to the conservation of biodiversity outside the areas, where it naturally occurs.
  • For example, zoo, botanical gardens, seed banks, etc. Reintroduction of an animal or a plant into a habitat is another example of ex situ conservation.

In situ Conservation

  • It refers to the conservation of species within their natural habitat.
  • This mode of conservation includes biosphere reserves, national parks, reserved forests, wildlife sanctuaries, seed vaults, etc.

Species Richness in India

In terms of species richness, India ranks seventh in mammals, ninth in birds and fifth in reptiles. Of the 34 globally identified biodiversity hotspots, India possesses the following two hot spots:

  • Eastern Himalayas and
  • Western Ghats.

In terms of variety of geographies, India represents two realms and five biomes.

Realm is a continent or a subcontinent area which has unifying features of geography, flora and fauna.

India comprises of two realms, namely;

  • Himalayan region and
  • Rest of Indian sub-continent.

Biome refers to the group of plants and animals living in a large area which has similar climatic characteristics.

The five biomes in India are as follows:

  1. Tropical humid forests: These forests are in the region which receives very high rainfall of 200 cm or more. For instance, Western Ghats and North-East Hills.
  2. Tropical deciduous forests: Major part of India is covered with these forests.
  3. Deserts and semi-desert regions: These regions comprise of southern Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan and northern Gujarat.
  4. Coniferous forests: These forests are present in the Middle Himalayas or high altitudes of other mountains.
  5. Alpine meadows: These grasslands are present in the Higher Himalayas.                    Biodiversity in India

Measurement of Biodiversity 

Biodiversity measurement at a particular place has two major characteristics: richness and evenness.

Species richness It is measured by the following three indicators.

  1. Alpha diversity: It is the biodiversity within a particular area or an ecosystem. It is expressed in terms of the number of each species.
  2. Beta diversity: It represents the differences in species composition among different areas or ecosystems. It is usually measured as the change in amount of species among the ecosystems.
  3. Gamma diversity: It represents the measure of the overall diversity for the different ecosystems within a region.

Species evenness

  • Species evenness refers to how close in numbers each species is in an environment.
  • In other words, it is a measure of biodiversity which quantifies how equal the community is numerically.                  Biodiversity in India
  • So, if there are 40 foxes and 1000 dogs, the community is not very even. But if there are 40 foxes and 42 dogs, the community is quite even.

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Environment & Biodiversity

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