Biodiversity hotspots in India – The term ‘Biodiversity Hotspot’ was first introduced in 1988 by British biologist Norman Myers. At that time, he recognised 25 such areas in all around the world. Lately, 9 more biodiversity hotspots in India have been added to the list which makes the present total sum 34. Out of 34, 3 biodiversity hotspots have been found in India.
Actually, biodiversity hotspot is a region that is biologically extremely rich but at the same time, is deeply threatened by the humans. Such areas hugely promote ecosystem and enriched with varied locally endemic species of flora and fauna.
Biodiversity hotspots in India
These biodiversity hotspots comprise of microorganisms, rare species of plants and animals, coral reefs, forests, rainforests, deserts, water bodies and support a vast array of life on the earth. Biodiversity hotspots represent the biological resources available to us but they’re in a grave danger and we need to preserve them.
Criteria to declare a reign as a biodiversity hotspot
The inventor of biodiversity hotspot term Norman Myer had set two strict criteria for a reign to qualify as a biodiversity hotspot. And they are-
- The region must have minimum 1500 vascular plants as endemics.
- It must contain only 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. It means 70% of its primary vegetation should have gone extinct.
Importance of biodiversity hotspots
For every living being, biodiversity hotspots in India are as important as a breath itself. These total 34 biodiversity hotspots cover just 2.3% of the land surface on the earth but they consist of around 60% world’s plants, mammals, reptiles and numerous other endemic species.
Rich biodiversity hotspots maintain the proper balance of ecosystem by combating pollution, stabilizing climate, forming soil, and protecting water bodies.Not only this, they also provide many medicinal herbs and food resources to human and the animals. Almost 80% food supply and medicines come from the biodiversity regions.
Many industrial materials such as fiber, oil, dyes, rubber, timber, and paper are also the gift of biodiversity hotspots. In a nutshell, biodiversity hotspots are an integral part of the ecosystem so, for our own sake, we should take some initiatives to conserve them.
Habitat destruction is the major reason for the biodiversity loss and it can only be controlled by humans.
Numbers of biodiversity hotspots in India
India is a large country and has been known for a bewitching natural beauty. Unfortunately, in some areas, the rate of deforestation has gone to sky-touching and the ecosystem has reached to the down below stage.
They need a call from humans. Let’s find out such biodiversity hotspots in India which also extend to the neighboring countries.
The Eastern Himalayas (Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, and Eastern Nepal)
The high and widespread peaks of Himalaya form a biodiversity hotspot comprising of muddy grasslands, foothills, alpine paddocks, and a huge variety of rare flora and fauna.
The suitable weather conditions and the varied region of Himalayas support biodiversity and endemism. Around 163 species of both flora and fauna found in the Eastern Himalaya are endangered.
Indo-Burma Reign (Purvanchal hills, Arakan Yoma,and Eastern Bangladesh)
The Indo-Burma biodiversity region is spread in 2 million km2 of Asia. Since the region is very sprawling, the climate and the habitat pattern of it are very diverse.
The biodiversity of this region has been deteriorating rapidly for last few decades. Indo-Burma region houses around 8000 species of flora, of which 40% are endemic.
Around 1300 species of birds had been found in this region. But at the present, the floral and the faunal diversity of this hotspot is in a very critical condition.
The Western Ghat and Sri Lanka
Also referred as Sahyadri Hill, this biodiversity hotspot spans from the southwestern part of India to the highlands of Sri Lanka. The region covers a massive area of 182,500 km2 but due to over population, intricate geography, and variation in rainfall it is in perilous conditions presently. The region typically includes various forests that are the home to the unnumbered of animals and plants.
Demographic diversity of India
India is undoubtedly one of the most diverse demographic countries in the world. Here language, religion and the culture change in every five kilometers but still we all are one and bonded in one soul. If we talk in bigger terms, the nation having a population of around 1.2 billion plays a critical role in world demographic, economic as well as biodiversity.
Biodiversity and natural resources are directly related to humans. Fertility or the loss of biodiversity is just the result of human activities. So we can say that the demographic diversity of India affects the biodiversity in both good and bad way. Good because in Indian culture, many plants, rivers, animals are worshiped and held in high esteem.
So, Indians make efforts to flourish such biodiversity. And bad because India is a highly populated country so just to fulfill their needs, people don’t hesitate to harm the natural resources. The population pressure affects biodiversity censoriously too.
Flora and fauna of India
In India, about one-fourth of total land surface is arboreal. With the fact, you can assume how rich biodiversity is in India. It abounds in a floral and faunal diversity that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. The favourable climate conditions and the efforts, made by the government to preserve the biodiversity, promote the richness of flora and Fauna in India.
India has been bestowed with numerous wildlife sanctuaries, dense forests, extensive grasslands, gigantic mountains, and great rivers which make it an abode to the myriad of flora and fauna species. From scrubs to deciduous forests and from thick thorn jungles to the moderate cool woods, India is a treasure trove of flora and fauna.
The floral beauty of the country comprises of around 450,000 species of plants and 150,000 varieties of flowers.
This natural beauty of the country is incomplete without mentioning the indescribable diversity of fauna.Approximately 200 species of birds, 500 species of mammals, and the 30000 species of reptiles, fishes and insects call India their home. The Indian biodiversity is as diverse as the country itself.
Biodiversity Vs Human Progress
Human beings and nature have an inseparable bonding. They both can never be drifted apart. Human activities affect the nature and natural calamities shake the humans.
Humans can save the nature and nature can help humans to flourish. Means, they both are complementary and dependable on each other. But in last few decades, human progress or in a better word ‘technical development’ has gone to the extent that now it is damaging the biodiversity brutally.
The plants, trees and the other natural resources are being wiped out just to laying the foundation of an industry there. The biodiversity loss has become an inherent part of human development and just because of it, today, the entire ecosystem is on the verge of collapse.
It is not only detrimental to the environment but the human beings too. I agree to the point that human growth is necessary but should be to the amount where nature is not being slayed every day.
Every creature on earth is hugely depended on biodiversity hotspots. Especially, these biodiversity hotspots are critical for human survival. But human activities are causing contantly serious threat and havoc to them. If we see, biodiversity hotspots and the human beings both are inter-related to each other.
They both have an enormous impact on each other’s existence. So, biodiversity hotspots are the treasure to the human being and we should protect them in order to save the global biodiversity.