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Bio Diversity

Definition of Biodiversity

œBiodiversity is the variety of all life forms the different plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems of which they form a part of National Strategy for the Conservation of India's Biological Diversity (2008).

Greenplanet is dedicated to the protection and conservation of Gujarat's biodiversity.

Biodiversity is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and the vital services our lives depend on. Meanwhile human activity is causing the diversity of life on Earth to be lost at a greatly accelerated rate. These losses are irreversible, impoverish us all and damage the life support systems we rely on every day.

Species Diversity India contains a great wealth of biological diversity in its forests, its wetlands and in its marine areas. This richness is shown in absolute numbers of species and the proportion they represent of the world total (see Table 1).

Table 1. Comparison Between the Number of Species in India and the World.

Group No. of Species in India (SI) No. of Species in the World(SW) SI/SW (%)
Mammals 350(1) 4629(7) 7.6
Birds 1224(2) 9,702(8) 12.6
Reptiles 408(3) 6,550(9) 6.2
Amphibians 197(4) 4,522(10) 4.4
Fishes 2546(5) 21,730(11) 11.7
Flowering Plants 15,000(6) 250,000(12) 6.0

Threatened Species

Inventories of birds, mammals, trees, fish and reptiles are moderately complete. As examples see Appendix 3 for a list of the birds of India, and Appendix 4 for a list of the mammals of India. Knowledge of special interest groups such as primates, pheasants, bovids, endemic birds, orchids, and so on, is steadily improving through collaboration of domestic scientists with those from overseas. The importance of these biological resources cannot be overestimated for the continued welfare of India's population.

India contains 172 species of animal considered globally threatened by IUCN, or 2.9% of the world's total number of threatened species (Groombridge, 1993). These include 53 species of mammal, 69 birds, 23 reptiles and 3 amphibians. A full list of these species is given in Appendix 5. India contains globally important populations of some of Asia's rarest animals, such as the Bengal Fox, Asiatic Cheetah, Marbled Cat, Asiatic Lion, Indian Elephant, Asiatic Wild Ass, Indian Rhinoceros, Markhor, Gaur, Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo etc. Summary accounts for some of the globally threatened mammals found in India are given in Appendix 6. The number of species in various taxa that are listed under the different categories of endangerment is shown below in Table 2.

Table 2. Globally Threatened Animals Occurring in India by Status Category

Group Endangered Vulnerable Rare Indeterminate Insufficiently Total
Mammals 13 20 2 5 13 53
Birds 6 20 25 13 5 69
Reptiles 6 6 4 5 2 23
Birds 6 20 25 13 5 69
Amphibians 0 0 0 3 0 3
Fishes 0 0 2 0 0 2
Invertebrates 1 3 12 2 4 22