The Future of Biodiversity in India
THE FUTURE OF BIODIVERSITY IN INDIA
INDIA is not only gifted with cultural diversity, geographical diversity, social diversity and climatic diversity but also adorned with biodiversity which broadly includes land biodiversity and marine biodiversity. Its geographical position on globe is suitable to achieve latitudinal variation as well as altitudinal variation in giving birth to varied number of indigenous flora and fauna. India contains 8%of world species in only 2.4% area of world. Moreover ,in about 34 biological hotspots spread all over the world three lies in India i.e. Western Ghats, North-East India and Himalayan region.
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Today most grasslands and forests have been converted to agricultural land or urban center. It has become the centre of human activity, of mans dominance over the environment. Rivers ,lakes, ponds ,deltas and oceans have become the dumping grounds of mans innovation. Wetlands have been reclaimed for agricultural or settlement purpose and coastal ecosystem have been destroyed for developmental projects like setting up of refineries, ports etc. These developments have strained and fragmented the natural habitat which severely effect the biodiversity of the region. Several projects are still in the policy formulation stages such linking of rivers, construction of dams (even in seismic zones),construction of expressways and freeways, increase in mining areas ,scientific observatories like the neutrino observatory in the Nilgiris ,construction of canals etc which require a significant appraisal and assessment of the environment with respect to the specific considerations of the indigenous people of the region.
Natural calamities like floods, droughts , famine , landslides , earthquake , tsunamis, cyclones ,avalanches etc. also help anthropogenic factors in doing irreversible damage to the ecosystem. Therefore overall, the climatic changes which is a widely recognized factors of biodiversity damage is a major cause of concern of the world. Frequent floods in the Northern Gangetic plains and the deltas of Godavari,Krishna rejuvenate the soil of the area but the variability of rainfall with the increasing frequency of EL NINO and ENSO have effected the monsoon climate of the Indian Ocean. Newer areas are being subjected to floods and droughts or both at the same time which is impacting the agro ecological and agro-climatic zones necessitating changes in the cropping pattern and crop diversification.The recent experience of tsunamis have posed a greater problem to the environmentalists and the scientific community in terms of determining the nature and extent of destruction and its impact on marine and coastal ecosystem. Landslides, cloud bursts, avalanches in hilly areas like the one in Leh, Kumaon- Garhwal Himalayas have disrupted the top soil horizon and soil microbes therein.
Industrialisation and urbanization are producing excessive waste-aerosols ,polluting the air, water, soil through various chemical products.It have brought the environment to a critical limit whose impact can be assessed through incidences of Acid rains, heat island ,smogs and a variety of health problems.
Overall, the impact is extremely evident on the Food chain of various species thus altering the Food web and finally the species existence. Harvesting of plant and animals beyond sustainable limit has placed several species like pink headed duck, mountain quail in extinct list and brow-altered deer, yak , masked , hooded Crain in critical list of IUCN. Introduction of exotic species,genetically modified species can do great damage...