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Biodiversity Hotspots in India – Are they in Good Condition?

Introduction

Biodiversity talks about the interaction of species at a different level. Biodiversity can be defined as diverse varieties of species that can be found in a particular area which contributes a lot for the maintenance of the natural ecosystem. Biodiversity is distributed across the whole global areas. There are significantly 25 biologically hotspot rich areas globally, but the most saddened part is almost around 70 percent of them lost their original habitat. In biologically hotspot areas numbers of rich plants and animals are found, and this term was coined by Norman Myers. And according to conservation international, the region can be defined as a hotspot only if it contains 1500 species of vascular plants as the endemics. Numerous endemic species including species of mammals, birds or aves, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, and flowering plants. And whose vegetation is threatened or are in danger needs to be protected and must be conserved for maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem. So to know the biodiversity status two criteria must be kept in mind and that is endemism and habitat loss. The trees plants act as a shelter and are home for the number of endemic species. But due to the decline of species on their natural habitat, it leads to a decline in ecological footprints and has a huge impact on the biosphere. The hotspots play a very important role in conserving the forest as it helps in protecting the natural resources, helps in maintaining the soil fertility and percolation, and also help in recycling the nutrients of the ecosystem. Biodiversity hotspots are beneficial for humans in several ways as it helps to provide medicines and Pharmaceutical drugs and wood products. It is also a great place for educational related activities and the betterment of the human race.

Biodiversity Hotspots in India

Basically, there are four major hotspots regions in India where we can find different exotic species in all these four places that can be found. The four places are the Himalayas, Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma region, and the Sunderland these four places are the regions where different and major varieties of species can be found. So here I am going to discuss in detail these four regions and their importance and what makes these regions as biodiversity hotspot regions. In these regions, it is also home to most of the tribes. And their contributions also play an important role in nurturing these places.

The Himalayas

The Himalayas is one of the regions, which is very rich in biodiversity and it is divided into two parts, and they are the eastern Himalayas and the western Himalayas. The eastern Himalayas covers Nepal, Bhutan, and other North-eastern states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and others. The western Himalayas covers Kumaon-Garhwal, Northwest-Kashmir, and other places. The Himalayas also covers 3160 endemic species of the plants, 12 different species of mammals, and 15 endemic species of birds and aves. 48 endemic species of reptiles, 42 endemic species of reptiles, 42 endemic species of amphibians although the Eastern Ghats have greater amphibian species. And also have 33 different varieties of freshwater fishes in this region. There is also some beautiful flower growing species like orchids which is having around 750 species. And Ermania himalayensis (scientific name) is a unique flower that grows in the slopes of Mt. Kamet which is in the side of northwestern Himalayas. The Himalayas is a home and the hotspot, where the maximum number of endangered species can be found.

Indo-Burma

It covers around 2,373,000 sq.km of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Lowlands, Indo Burma region comprises around 7000 species of plants, then 73 endemic species of mammals, 64 endemic species of birds, 204 endemic species of reptiles, 153 species of greater amphibians species and 553 species of freshwater fishes.

And very surprisingly in the year 1992, new species of mammals have been discovered and they are known as Antlered Muntjac, Anamite Muntjac,Grey shanked douche, Anamite stripped rabbit etc.  The Indo Burma hotspot is one of the hotspots which is at the threat of extinction. And it is said that it is one of the first places where human started agriculture and the fire is used to clear the land for agriculture and other needs.

Sundaland        

It constitutes of the western half of the Indo Malayan archipelago and there two of the largest islands are situated as well and they are known as Borneo Island and Sumatra Island. The Borneo Island covers almost 725,000 kilometer square of land while Sumatra Island covers 427,000 kilometer square of land. There are around 25,000 endemic species of plants, 172 species of animals, 243 species of reptiles, 142 species of birds, 196 species of amphibians, and 350 species of freshwater fishes. The member of the genus Rafflesia is also present in this hotspot area and also the rare species of Southeast Asia Rhino can be found in this hotspot area.                                       

Western Ghats

As we all know that western Ghats is having a greater number of Amphibian species than the Eastern Ghats. These Ghats are also known as Sahyadri hills that are formed due to the Malabar plains. Here the mountains almost runs parallel to the western coast of India and are about 3o to 40 kilometres inland. The Western Ghats comprises 3,049 endemic species of plants varieties, 18 endemic species of mammals, 35 endemic species of birds and Aves, 174 endemic species of reptiles 139 endemic species of freshwater fishes and 139 endemic species of amphibians can be found in the whole area. Some of the critically endangered species of flora and fauna can be found here at this place.

Due to the rainfall in this area, different kinds of vegetation can be found like deciduous forests, scrub forest, tropical rain forest montane forest, the plains, and rolling grasslands can be found here. Here the highest level of plant diversity and endemism can be found in Agasthyamalai hills.

Threats to Biodiversity Hotspots in India

One of the major threats to Biodiversity is climate change, due to which the extinction of the invasive species is occurring. In the Himalayan region, the warming of the climate at the regional rate is higher than the global warming rates. And due to the rise in population growth, the infrastructure is done by clearing the land areas where it becomes a threat to a large number of species.

Then comes the habitat loss or the degradation as it talks about the clearing of land areas for monoculture and pasture process, which talks about growing a particular crop in the farmland.

As we all know that maintenance of natural resources is very important for the nurturing and for taking proper care of the species, but due to the depletion in natural resources that are caused due to human activities, new varieties of species cannot be found. Due to which the natural process of interaction within the species gets disturbed.

There are also numbers of aquatic species across the regions and the water pollution leads to rapid eutrophication, so it is very necessary to conserve the marine biodiversity as well.

Conclusion

So there is an essential need to protect biodiversity at the genetic level and species level. The reduction in land and soil degradation will help the species in many ways. Participating in programs like biodiversity conservation and spreading awareness among people will be efficient for the conservation of biodiversity. As biodiversity plays an important role in our life, so before destructing it for our own needs, just think about integrating it for our own needs and how much it will be beneficial for all of us.

Mahaprasad Rath
Mahaprasad Rath focuses on informative articles which are having some applications and uses and tries to come up with some possible solutions for the remadies with some realistic problems and some scientific approaches

1 COMMENT

  1. Unless local communities are involved in planning, management and monitoring conservation programmes, its not possible to protect our biodiversity,. There are several initiatives to do this,both by government as well as non-governmental organizations. The Joint Forest Management philosophy stresses involvement of village communities in regenerating and protecting degraded forest land in the vicinity of villages.Successful conservation strategies will have to have the confidence and participation of the local communities.

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