India can emerge as a biodiversity champion
Biodiversity, the totality and variety of our biological resources, is crucial to the survival of the world. The United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, made a strong case for the value of our planet’s biodiversity. The 2030 commitment, which aims to “stop and reverse” biodiversity loss by protecting 30% of the world’s land and 30% of its oceans by 2030, was ratified on December 19, 2022, by delegates from 188 nations.
India is in a prime position to lead the world in becoming biodiversity champions because it currently has 17% of the world’s population and 17% of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
India can emerge as a biodiversity champion: Key Points
- Green Growth was listed as one of the seven priorities, or Saptarishis, in the Union Budget 2023.
- The variety and variability of life on Earth is referred to as biodiversity or biological diversity.
- A measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels is called biodiversity.
- India is in a prime position to lead the world in becoming biodiversity champions because it currently has 17% of the world’s population and 17% of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), there may be as many as 13 million species, although only 1.75 million have been recognised yet, including a large number of insects.
- Codependence, cohabitation, and interaction
- Biodiversity, the sum and variety of our biological wealth, is crucial to the future of this world.
- The diversity of species on earth, sometimes known as the “web of life,” maintains the harmony of ecosystems and allows for the coexistence of people.
- They engage with the surroundings to carry out a variety of tasks.
Among the many living things that provide these services, plants and animals are the most well-known. Giving people access to food, energy, fibre, shelter, building materials, air and water purification, climate stabilisation, pollination of agricultural plants, and a reduction in the effects of flood, drought, high heat, and wind.
A disruption of these results in serious consequences like unsuccessful agriculture, abnormal climate patterns, and cascade extinctions of species that hasten the deterioration of the earth.
- Despite its victims being highly visible, biodiversity loss continues to be mainly invisible.
- According to the UN, one in eight of the world’s bird species and an estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species face extinction based on present trends.
- Almost 30% of the major agricultural animal breeds are currently in danger of going extinct.
- Deforestation: Much of the known terrestrial biodiversity is found in forests, yet roughly 45% of the planet’s original forests have been destroyed, largely over the previous century.
- The combined effects of human population increase and resource usage pose the greatest threat to the planet’s biodiversity.
- Resources are needed by the human population to survive and expand, yet many of these resources are being taken from the environment in an unsustainable way.
- The five main risks to biodiversity are invasive species, pollution, habitat loss, and Climate change and invasive species.
- Invasive species have been introduced as a result of increased trade and movement, whilst other risks are a direct result of resource consumption and population growth.
- India’s biodiversity and the importance of “Green Growth”
India’s “Green Growth” initiative
The focus on sustainable development is good news for India’s biological diversity, as the nation is experiencing major losses of its natural resources, including soils, land, water, and biodiversity.
India’s National Green Mission
- The National Mission for a Green India seeks to restore and conserve existing wooded lands while increasing forest cover on damaged regions.
- The Green Credit Program’s mission is to “incentivize ecologically responsible and proactive measures by businesses, individuals, and municipal organisations.”
- The remarkable significance of mangroves and coastal ecosystems in preventing climate change makes The Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) particularly noteworthy.
- For our agriculture to continue, PM-PRANAM, the Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth, is essential. It aims to reduce inputs of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.
- The Amrit Dharohar project specifically refers to our biological variety and aims to “promote optimal use of wetlands, and enhance biodiversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism potential, and income production for local populations.”
- Amrit Dharohar, with its emphasis on sustainability through balancing competing needs, will promote aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem services if it is applied in letter and spirit.
- Implementation and monitoring: It is essential that these programmes use evidence-based implementation to address the current situation of the nation’s biodiversity.
- Not only is a scientifically sound and inclusive monitoring programme essential for the success of these initiatives but also for documentation and worldwide education.
- Using contemporary sustainability concepts: New missions and programmes should make efficient use of contemporary sustainability concepts and ecosystem valuation methods that take into account ecological, cultural, and social facets of our biological richness.
- The ability to maintain ecological flows through a reduction in water usage in important sectors like agriculture will determine the fate of our wetland ecosystems in the future.
- Urban regions need to make investments in water recycling that combine grey and blue-green infrastructure.
Put an emphasis on ecological restoration
- When it comes to the Green India Mission, implementation should prioritise ecosystem restoration above tree planting.
- It is also necessary to choose locations where linear infrastructure can help restore biological connectedness in landscapes that have been broken up by it.
- Site selection for the mangrove project should be carefully thought out, with a focus on the variety of mangrove species while maintaining the integrity of the coastal mudflats and salt pans themselves, as they are crucial for biodiversity.
What needs to be done soon?
- The local and nomadic communities where these ideas will be implemented must be included in these efforts.
- The implementation strategies should incorporate the customs and knowledge of these communities.
- If these programmes are implemented based on the most recent scientific and ecological understanding, they all have the potential to significantly improve the state of our country’s biodiversity.
- So, each programme should allocate a sizable amount of cash to education and research in order to evaluate and expand knowledge of India’s biological endowment.