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 Species diversity decreases as we move away from the equator towards the poles.

With very few


exceptions, tropics (latitudinal range of 23.5° N to 23.5° S) harbour more species than temperate or polar
areas. Tropical Amazonian rain forest in South America has the greatest biodiversity on earth.

Bioprospecting

 Bioprospecting can be defined as the systematic search for and development of new sources of chemical
compounds, genes, micro-organisms, macro-organisms, and other valuable products from nature. It entails
the search for economically valuable genetic and biochemical resources from nature. So, in brief,
bioprospecting means looking for ways to commercialize biodiversity

Keystone Species

 Keystone species, in ecology, a species that has a disproportionately large effect on the communities in
which it occurs. When a keystone species is removed from a habitat, the habitat is dramatically changed.
All other species are affected and some may disappear from that ecosystem or even become extinct.

Species Richness - It is the measure of number of species found in a community (how rich they are?)

 Alpha diversity - It is the diversity within a particular area or ecosystem. It is expressed by the
number of species (i.e. species richness) in that ecosystem.

 Beta diversity - It is a comparison of diversity between ecosystems. It is measured as the change


in amount of species between the ecosystems.

 Gamma diversity - It is a measure of the overall diversity for the different ecosystems within a
region.
Species Evenness - It measures the proportion of species at a given site. E.g. low evenness indicates that a
few species dominate the site.

Biodiversity Conservation
 Conservation of biodiversity is protection, upliftment and scientific management of biodiversity so
as to maintain it at its threshold level and derive sustainable benefits for the present and future
generation.

Ex-situ Conservation
Conserving biodiversity outside the areas where they naturally occur or in other words threatened animals
and plants are taken out from their natural habitat and placed in special setting where they can be
protected and given special care.
Example - Zoological parks, botanical gardens and wildlife safari parks.

National Gene Bank of India - It is primarily responsible for conservation of unique accessions on long-
term basis, as base collections for posterity, predominantly in the form of seeds. Ministry of agriculture

Advantages of ex-situ conservation


 It gives longer life time and breeding activity to animals.
 Genetic techniques can be utilized in the process.
 Captivity breed species can again be reintroduced in the wild.

Disadvantages
 The favourable conditions may not be maintained always.
 Few life forms cannot evolve.
 This technique involves only few species
In-situ Conservation
The conservation of species in their natural habitat or natural ecosystem is known as in situ
conservation. The established natural habitats are -National parks, Sanctuaries, Biosphere reserves,
Reserved forests, Protected forests, Nature reserves.
Advantages
 If it is a cheap and convenient way of conserving biological diversity.
 It offers a way to preserve a large number of organisms simultaneously, known or unknown to
us.
 The existence in natural ecosystem provides opportunity to the living organisms to adjust to
differed’ environmental conditions and to evolve in to a better life form.

Disadvantage - it requires large space of earth which is often difficult because of growing demand for
space.
Indian Biodiversity
India represents –
 2 realms
 5 Biomes
 10 Bio-geographic zones
 25 Bio-geographic provinces

Realms - Biogeographic realms are large spatial regions within which ecosystems share a broadly
similar biological evolutionary history. Realm is a continent or sub-continent sized area with unifying
features of geography and fauna & flora.
In world - 8 biogeographic realms are there –
o Nearctic realm
o Palaearctic realm
o Africotropical realm
o Indomalayan realm
o Ocenaia realm
o Australian realm
o Antarctic realm
o Neotropical realm

In India – 2 realms are there –


o Himalayan region represented by Palearctic Realm
o Rest of the sub-continent represented by Malayan Realm

Biomes of India - Biosphere, which is one of the levels of organizations in ecology, has many divisions
and each division is known as Biome.
 Each biome has different climate, vegetation, animals and soil type. No two biomes are same.
 Climate, vegetation, animals decide the boundaries of biomes.
 Most important climatic factors are – temperature and precipitation.
5 biomes of India are –
1. Tropical Humid Forests
2. Tropical Dry or Deciduous Forests (including Monsoon Forests)
3. Warm deserts and semi-deserts
4. Coniferous forests and
5. Alpine meadows

Biogeography deals with the geographical distribution of plants and animals. Biogeography is divided into
branches. There are 10 biogeographic zones which are distinguished clearly in India.
Wildlife of India

Himalayan Mountain System


 West Himalayas have low rainfall, heavy snowfall (temperate conditions), whereas
in east Himalayas, there is heavy rainfall, snowfall only at very high altitudes,
whereas at lower altitudes conditions are similar to the tropical rain forests. Flora
and fauna of both Himalayas differ.

1. Himalayan foothills
 Flora - Monsoon evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.
 Species - sal, silkcotton trees, giant bamboos; tall grassy meadow with savannahs in tarai.
 Fauna - Big mammals like elephant, sambar, swamp deer, cheetal, hog deer, barking deer,
wild boar tiger, panther, wild dogs, hyena, black bear, sloth bear, porcupine, Great Indian
one horned rhinoceros, wild buffalo, gangetic gharial, golden langur. (don’t worry all of
them will be covered in red data book)

2. Western Himalayas (High altitude region)


 Flora Natural monsoon evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. Rhododendrons, dwarf hill
bamboo and birch forests mixed with alpine pastures.
 Fauna - Wild ass, wild goats (thar, markhor, ibex) and sheep (Nayan, Marcopolo's sheep,
bharal or blue sheep), antelopes (Chiru and Tibetan gazelle), deers (hangul of Kashmir stag
and shou or Sikkim stag, musk deer).

3. Eastern Himalayas
 Flora - Oaks, magnolias, laurels and birches covered with moss and ferns. Coniferous forests
of pine, fir, yew and junipers with undergrowth of scrubby rhododendrons and dwarf
bamboos. Lichens, moss, orchids, and other epiphytes dominant (due to high humidity and
high rainfall).
 Fauna Red panda, hog badgers forest badgers, crestless porcupines, goat antelopes (Scrow,
Goral, Takins)

Peninsular India
 It is home to tropical moist deciduous to tropical dry deciduous and scrub vegetation
depending upon the variation in rainfall and humidity.
 North and east extensions - Sal (higher rainfall) ,Southern plateau - teak trees
 West Ghats - evergreen vegetation (flora and fauna similar to evergreen rainforests of NE
India).
 In dry areas of Rajasthan and Aravalli hills – scattered trees and thorny scrub
 Fauna Elephant, wild boar, deers (cheetal or axis deer), hog deer swamp deer or barasinga,
sambar, muntjak or barking deer, antelopes (four-hourned antelope, nilgai, blackbuck,
chinkara, gazelle), wild dog or dhole, tiger, leopard, cheetah, lion, wild pig, monkey, striped
hyena, jackal gaur

Indian Desert
 Thorny trees with reduced leaves, cacti, other succulents are the main plants.
 Birds - Great Indian bustard , Other animals - wild ass, black buck, desert cat
Tropical rain forest region

 Distribution - areas of Western Ghats and North East India.


 Evergreen vegetation known as “sholas” occur in the Nilgiris (an offshoot of Western ghats).
 They also occur in Aanaimalai and Palani hills.
 The rain forests have dense and lofty trees with much species diversity.
 Mosses, ferns, epiphytes, orchids, lianas and vines, herbs, shrubs make diverse habitat.
 Ebony trees predominate in these forests. A variety of tropical orchids are found.
 Stratification (layers of trees and plants) in rain forests is very distinct - 3 horizontal layers are distinguished

Fauna - There are wild elephants, gaur and other larger animals. Most species are tree dwellers. Most
prominent - hoolock gibbon (only ape found in India), golden langur, capped langur or leahnonkey,
Assam macaque and the pig-tailed macaque, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur slender loris. Bats, giant
squirrel, civets, flying squirrels, Nilgiri mongoose, spiny mouse

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

 These are home for tropical rain forests. Giant Dipterocarpus, Terminalia and Lagerstroemia are
dominant. Mangroves are also distributed in the coastal areas.

Mangrove swamps of Sundarbans