Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth
It includes all life forms-from the unicellular
fungi, protozoa and bacteria to complex
multicellular organisms such as plants, birds,
fishes and animals.
Biodiversity is the variety of flora and fauna
on this planet earth.
Jellyfish, worms, arthropods, molluscs,
echinoderms, amphibians, fish,
reptiles, birds and mammals.
Seed bearing plants and non-seed
Bacteria and primitive algae
Moulds, mushrooms and toadstools
According to the World Resources Institute-
"Biodiversity is the variety of the world's
organisms, including their genetic diversity
and the assemblage they form.”
The concept reflects the inter-relatedness of genes,
species and ecosystems.
Because genes are the components of species, and
species are the components of ecosystems.
Therefore, altering the make-up of any level of this
hierarchy can change the others-species and are
central to the concept of biodiversity.
From the driest deserts to the dense tropical
rainforests and from the high snow-clad mountain
peaks to the deepest of ocean trenches, life occurs
in a marvellous spectrum of forms, size, colour and
shape, each with unique ecological inter-
It refers to the total genetic information contained in the genes of
individuals of plants , animals and microorganisms.
The genes found in organisms can form enormous number of
combinations each of which gives rise to some variability.
Genes are the basic units of hereditary information transmitted
from one generation to other.
When the genes within the same species show different versions
due to new combinations, it is called genetic variability.
For example, all rice varieties belong to the species Oryza sativa,
but there are thousands of wild and cultivated varieties of rice
which show variations at the genetic level and differ in their color,
size, shape, aroma and nutrient content of the grain. This is the
genetic diversity of rice.
New genetic variation arises:
by gene and chromosome mutation; and
by the recombination of genetic material
during cell division preceding reproduction.
Value of Genes
Rice grown in Asia is protected from the four
main rice diseases by genes brought in from
a wild species from India.
The sugarcane industry in the US was saved
from collapse by disease – resistance genes
brought in from wild Asiatic species.
A tomato discovered in Andes has been used
to increase the sugar content of cultivated
varieties, increasing their commercial value.
A species generally consists of all the individual
organisms of a natural population which are able to
interbreed, generally sharing similar appearance,
characteristics and genetics due to having relatively
recent common ancestors.
A species is a reproductively isolated population that
shares a common gene pool and a common niche.
a species is one of the basic units of biodiversity.
Measurement of species:
Species richness is the simplest measure of
biodiversity and is simply a count of the number of
different species in a given area.
Species evenness is a diversity index, a measure of
biodiversity which quantifies how equal the
populations are numerically.
So if there are 40 foxes, and 1000 dogs, the
population is not very even.
But if there are 40 foxes and 42 dogs, the population
is quite even.
This is the diversity of ecological variations in
ecological niches, trophic structure, food-webs,
nutrient cycling etc.
The ecosystems also show variations with respect
to physical parameters like moisture, temperature,
altitude, precipitation etc.
Thus, there occurs tremendous diversity within the
ecosystems, along these gradients.
The ecosystem diversity is of great value that must
be kept intact.
This diversity has developed over millions of years
If we destroy this diversity, it would disrupt the
We cannot even replace the diversity of one
ecosystem by that of another.
Coniferous trees of boreal forests cannot take up
the function of the trees of tropical deciduous forest
lands and vice versa, because ecosystem diversity
has evolved with respect to the prevailing
environmental conditions with well-regulated
The description of a niche may include descriptions
of the organism's life history, habitat, and place in
the food chain.
A niche is the sum total of an organism's use of
biotic and abiotic resources in its environment,
how it "fits into" an ecosystem.
A niche may apply to species, populations or
The concept of the ecological niche is an important
one; it helps us to understand how organisms in an
ecosystem interact with each other.
A fundamental niche is the resources of an
organism or population is theoretically capable
of using under ideal circumstances.
The ecological niche of an organism depends
not only on where it lives but also on what it
By analogy, it may be said that the habitat is the
organism's "address", and the niche is its
"profession", biologically speaking.
What do oak trees do?
Know the oak trees "profession" or its ecological
absorb sunlight by photosynthesis;
absorb water and mineral salts from the soil;
provide shelter for many animals and other plants;
act as a support for creeping plants;
serve as a source of food for animals;
cover the ground with their dead leaves in the
These six things are the "profession" or
ecological niche of the oak tree;
If the oak trees were cut down or destroyed
by fire or storms they would no longer be
doing their job and this would have a
disastrous effect on all the other organisms
living in the same habitat.
Rain forest are among the most diverse ecosystems on earth
Measurement of biodiversity
There are three other indices which are used by ecologists:
Alpha diversity refers to diversity within a particular area,
community or ecosystem, and is measured by counting the
number of taxa (distinct groups of animals) within the
ecosystem (eg. families, genera, species).
Beta diversity is species diversity between ecosystems; this
involves comparing the number of taxa that are unique to
each of the ecosystems.
It is the rate of change in species composition across habitats
or among communities. It gives a quantitative measure of
diversity of communities that experience changing
Gamma diversity is a measure of the overall
diversity for different ecosystems within a
It refers to the total biodiversity over a large
area or region.
BIOGEOGRAPHICAL CLASSIFICATION OF INDIA
Biogeography is the science which deals with
patterns of species distribution and the processes
that result in such patterns.
The patterns of species distribution at this level can
usually be explained through a combination of
historical factors such as speciation, extinction,
continental drift, glaciation (and associated
variations in sea level, river routes, and so on), and
river capture, in combination with the area and
isolation of landmasses (geographic constraints)
and available energy supplies.
Some fundamentals in biogeography are
Evolution (change in genetic composition of a
Extinction (disappearance of a species)
Dispersal (movement of populations away
from their point of origin, related to migration)
Range and distribution
India has different types of climate and topography
in different parts of the country and these variations
have induced enormous variability in flora and
India has a rich heritage of biological diversity
It is very important to study the distribution,
evolution, dispersal and environmental relationship
of plants and animals in time and space
Biogeography comprising of phytogeography and
zoogeography deals with these aspects of plants
In order to gain insight about the distribution
and environmental interactions of flora and
fauna of our country, it has been classified
into ten biogeographic zones.
Each of these zones has its own
characteristic climate, soil, topography and
Major zones representing distinctive units of
similar ecology, biome representation,
community and species. e.g. Himalaya,
Biotic provinces: Next level of detail within
the zones. e.g. Northwestern Himalaya,
Biomes: Major ecosystem groupings found
within each province and region. e.g. Alpine,
Within India the classification recognizes 10 Zones,
divided into 26 Provinces
The zones are:
1.Trans-Himalaya with 2 provinces
2.The Himalaya with 4 provinces
3.The Indian Desert with 2 provinces
4.The Semi-Arid Zone with 2 provinces
5.The Western Ghats with 2 provinces
6.The Deccan Peninsula with 5 provinces
7.The Gangetic Plain with 2 provinces
8.The Coasts with 3 provinces
9.North East India with 2 provinces
10.The Islands with 2 provinces
SR. NO. BIOGEOGRAPHIC ZONE BIOTIC PROVINCE
1. Trans-Himalayan Upper Regions
2. Himalayan North-West Himalayas ,West Himalayas
Central Himalayas ,East Himalayas
3. Desert Kutch ,Thar ,Ladakh
4. Semi-Arid Central India ,Gujarat-Rajwara
5. Western Ghats Malabar Coast ,
Western Ghat Mountains
6. Deccan Peninsula Deccan Plateau ,South Central Plateau
Eastern Plateau, Chhota Nagpur Central
7. Gangetic Plain Upper Gangetic Plain,
Lower Gangetic Plain
8. North-East India Brahmaputra Valley, North-Eastern Hills
9. Islands Andaman Islands Nicobar Islands
10. Coasts West Coast
1. Trans-Himalaya: Biotic Province: Ladakh (J&K) and Lahaul - Spiti
(1). Biome: Tundra valley, lakes and marshes.
Wildlife: Chiru, Black-necked Crane, Himalayan pit viper.
2. Himalaya: Biotic Province: Northwestern Himalaya (2a), Western Himalaya
(2b), Central Himalaya (2c), Eastern Himalaya (2d).
Biome: All alpine, temperate conifer, temperate broadleaf, subtropical
Wildlife: Ibex, red panda, Monal Pheasant.
3. Indian Desert: Biotic Province: Kutchh (3a), Thar (3b).
Biome: Saltflats,scrublands, desert grasslands.
Wildlife: Wild ass, blackbuck, flamingo,desert monitor.
4. Semi-arid: Biotic Province: Punjab and Gujarat-Rajwara
(4).Biome: Scrublands, Bhabar forests, wetlands, dry deciduous, hill and thorn
forests. Wildlife: Tiger, Asiatic lion, Great Indian Bustard, gharial.
5. Western Ghats: Biotic Province: Western Ghats
(5). Biome: Evergreen, moist deciduous, wetlands, Montane forests, grasslands.
Wildlife: Lion-tailed macaque, Malabar civet, hornbill, draco.
Chiru Black necked crane Himalayan pit viper
Trans - Himalaya Zone
VALUE OF BIODIVERSITY
Consumptive value: These are direct use values where the
biodiversity product can be harvested and consumed directly e.g.
fuel, food, drugs, fibre etc.
Drugs and medicines: About 75% of the world's population
Depends upon plants or plant extracts for medicines.
The wonder drug Penicillin used as an antibiotic is derived from a
fungus called “Penicillium” .
Recently vinblastin and vincristine, two anticancer drugs, have
been obtained from Periwinkle (Catharanthus) plant, which
possesses anticancer alkaloids.
A large number of marine animals are supposed to possess anti-
cancer properties which are yet to be explored systematically.
Fuel: Our forests have been used since ages for
fuel wood. The fossil fuels coal, petroleum and
natural gas are also products of fossilized
Productive Values: These are the commercially
usable values where the product is marketed and
These may include the animal products like
tusks of elephants, musk from musk deer, silk from
silk-worm, wool from sheep, fur of many animals, lac
from lac insects etc, all of which are traded in the
tusks of elephantsmusk from musk deer silk from silk-worm
Genetic Value: Biological diversity is a valuable genetic
Most of the hybrid varieties of crops under cultivation have been
developed by incorporating useful genes from different species
of plants to produce better quality of the product with longer self-
life or having better resistance to pests.
Though such breeding techniques are unlimited in scope; but, for
getting better strains in future, it is essential to build-up a gene-
pool because the quality, yield, and resistance to pests, disease
and adverse climatic conditions mostly depend on genetic factors
and combination of genes which may be different in different
strains/varieties of species.
There are hundreds of examples which illustrate how genetic
modification helped in improved quality of the product.
A few of them are mentioned as under
• The genes from a wild variety of melon grown in U.P.
helped in imparting resistance to powdry mildew in
musk-melons grown in California (USA).
• The genes from the Kans grass (Saccharum
spontaneum) grown in Indonesia helped in imparting
resistance to red rot disease of sugarcane.
• A wild variety of rice from UP. saved millions of
hectares of paddy crop from Grossy-Stunt virus.
Social Value: These are the values associated with the social life,
customs, religion and aspects of the people.
Many of the plants are considered holy and sacred in our country
like Tulsi (holy basil), Peepal, Mango, Lotus, Bael etc.
The leaves, fruits or flowers of these plants are used in worship or
the plant itself is worshipped.
Many animals like Cow, snake, Bull, Peacock, Owl etc have
significant place in psycho-spiritual arena and thus hold social
The tribal people are very closely linked with the wild life in the
The biodiversity has distinct social value, attached with different
Ethical value: It is also sometimes known as existence value.It
involves ethical issues like "all life must be preserved'. It is based
on the concept of "Live and Let Live".
If we want our human race to survive then we must protect all
biodiversity, because biodiversity is valuable.
Aesthetic value: Great aesthetic value is attached to
No one of us would like to visit vast stretches of barren lands
with no signs of visible life.
People from far and wide spend a lot of time and money to visit
wilderness areas where they can enjoy the aesthetic value of
biodiversity and this type of tourism is now known as eco-
Option values: These values include the potentials of biodiversity that
are presently unknown and need to be explored.
There is a possibility that we may have some potential cure for AIDS or
cancer existing within the depths of a marine ecosystem, or a tropical
Thus option value is the value of knowing that there are biological
resources existing on this biosphere that may one day prove to be an
effective option for something important in the future.
Thus, the option value of biodiversity suggests that any species may
prove to be a miracle species someday.
The biodiversity is like precious gifts of nature presented to us. We
should not commit the folly of losing these gifts even before unwrapping
The option value also includes the values, in terms of the option to visit
areas where a variety of flora and fauna, or specifically some endemic,
rare or endangered species exist.
Ecosystem service value: It refers to the services provided by
ecosystems like prevention of soil erosion, prevention of floods,
maintenance of soil fertility, cycling of nutrients, fixation of
nitrogen, cycling of water, their role as carbon sinks, pollutant
absorption and reduction of the threat of global warming etc.
Different categories of biodiversity value clearly indicate that
ecosystem, species and genetic diversity all have enormous
potential and a decline in biodiversity will lead to huge economic,
ecological and socio-cultural losses.
Biodiversity value of some selected organisms in monetary terms
A male lion living upto an age of 7 years can generate upto $
515,000 due to its aesthetic value as paid by tourists, whereas if
killed for the lion skin a market price upto $ 1,000 can be fetched.
Biodiversity at Global level:
Cellular life has existed on Earth for probably more
than 3,500 million years, but for more than half this
time consisted only of prokaryotes (i.e. unicellular
organisms such as bacteria and blue-green algae).
Multicellular animals (metazoans) first appeared in
the fossil record some 600 million years ago.
During the earlier part of the Cambrian period (500-
580 million years ago) a wide diversity of
multicellular forms appeared with relative
The early metazoans inhabited the sea; the
land was colonized during the Silurian and
Devonian periods (340-440 million years
ago). In parallel with land animals, the
terrestrial vascular plants too appeared.
But the major radiation occurred among the
angiosperms (flowering plants), which
diversified enormously during the Cenozoic
era(65 million years ago to today).
The present geological era is perhaps the richest in biological
About 2.1 million species have been identified till date, while
many more species are believed to exist.
According to UNEP (1993-94) estimate, the total number of
species that might exist on Earth range between 9.0 - 52 million
Invertebrate animals and plants make-up most of the species.
About 70% of all known species are invertebrates (animals
without backbones such as insects, sponges, worms, etc.); while,
about 15% are plants.
Following the 1992 "Earth Summit" at Rio de Janeiro, it became
evident that there is a growing need to know and scientifically
name, the huge number of species which are still unknown on
Globally, we have roughly 1,70,000 flowering plants, 30,000 vertebrates and about
2,50,000 other groups of species that have been described.
The present global patterns in biodiversity indicate that the species richness tends
to vary geographically according to a series of fairly well defined rules.
For example, in case of terrestrial environments:
• Warmer areas hold more species than the colder areas;
• Wetter areas hold more species than the drier ones;
• Areas of varied climate and topography hold more species than the areas of uniform
climate and topography;
• Areas at lower altitude (elevation) hold more species than the high altitude areas;
• Less seasonal areas hold more species than the highly seasonal areas.
Similarly, in case of pelagic marine species, there tends to be more species in
warmer and less seasonal waters, i.e. at lower latitudes.
More species, both per unit area and overall/in the tropics than in temperate
regions and for more in the temperate regions than in polar regions.
The moist tropical forests, in general, are the most species rich areas or
environments on earth.
Biodiversity at Global level:
It is estimated that there exists 5-30 million
species of living forms on our earth .Of these
only 1.5 million are identified.
Green Plants and Fungi :300,000species
Insects : 8,00,000species
Microorganisms :3,60,000 species
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AT NATIONAL LEVEL : (Indian
Every country is characterized by its own biodiversity depending mainly
on its climate.
India has a rich biological diversity of flora and fauna.
Overall six percent of the global species are found in India.
It is estimated that India ranks 10th among the plant rich countries of
the world, 11th in terms of number of endemic species of higher
vertebrates and 6th among the centers of diversity and origin of
The total number of living species identified in our country is 150,000.
Indian is also one of the 12 mega-biodiversity countries in the world.
Out of a total of 25 biodiversity hot-spots in the world, India possesses
two, one in the north-east region and one in the western ghats.
Biodiversity at (Local level) Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh has a rich biological diversity which
consist of 4 National parks, and 21 wild life
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, 1994
,area 1.42 km2
Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park ,1994
Mrugavani National Park ,1994, area 3.60 km2
Sri Venkateswara National Park ,1989, area 353.62
Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park is a
national park located in the Jubilee hills in
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Named after the former chief minister of Andhra
Pradesh. Described as 'a jungle amidst the concrete
The park has over 600 species of plant life, 140
species of birds and 30 different varieties of
butterflies and reptiles.
Animals making their home in the park include:
pangolin, small Indian civet, peacock, jungle cat and
Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park is an Indian national
park located in Vanasthalipuram, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh,
The park was named after Mahavir, a Jain saint, in
commemoration of his 2500th birth anniversary in the year 1975.
The place where the park is located was once a private hunting
ground for former rulers of Hyderabad - the Nizam.
A deer park was set up in order to preserve this precious
heritage and rehabilitate it.
Animals living in this national park include a few hundred
blackbucks (the state animal of Andhra Pradesh), porcupines,
water monitors, short-toed eagles, Indian pond herons, egrets,
kingfishers, cormorants and several other bird species.
Mrugavani National Park
It is situated 25 km from Hyderabad and
covers an area of 3.5 square miles.
It is home to a 600 different types of plant life.
The animals include: the black naped hare,
forest cat, civet, Indian rat snake, Russell's
viper, cheetal and the flower pecker.
Kawal Wild life Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Adilabad District. Area 893 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: One of the richest Teak forests in the State, with dense
pristine areas free of human disturbance. The River Kadiam flows
through this area.
FLORA: Dry Deciduous Teak Forests mixed with Bamboo, Terminalia,
Pterocarpus, Anogeisus, Cassias
FAUNA: Flagship species is Tiger. Also has Panther, Gaur, Cheetal,
Sambar, Nilgai, Barking Deer, Chowsingha, Mouse Deer, Sloth Bear and
a variety of Birds & Reptiles.
Pranahitha Wild Life Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Adilabad District. Area 136.02
UNIQUENESS: Pranahita River, one of the
tributaries of mighty Godavari, abuts this Sanctuary
on its east. It is the home for the endangered Black
Buck, Chinkara, Wolf.
FLORA: Dry deciduous and riverine Forests along
river Pranahita with Teak, Bamboo, Terminalias,
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Sloth Bear, Cheetal, Black
Buck, Nilgai, Chinkara, a variety of aquatic Birds &
Sivaram Wild life Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA : Adilabad & Karimnagar
Districts, Area 29.81 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: A perennial basin in Godavari
River, home for Marsh Crocodile or Mugger.
FLORA: Riverine forest mixed with Teak,
Terminalia, Bamboo, Anogeissus, Cassia.
FAUNA: Flagship species is the Marsh Crocodile
with Tiger, Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Sloth Bear,
Cheetal, Sambar as other associates in the
Eturunagaram W S
LOCATION & AREA: Warangal District. Area 803
UNQUENESS: Rolling country with low hills on
banks of Godavari. The dense Forests are home for
the largest Gaur populations in the state.
FLORA: Dry deciduous Teak Forest & Riverine
Forest with Bamboo, Pterocarpus, Anogeissus,
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Sambar, Cheetal, Nilgai,
Black Buck, Chowsingha, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Wolf,
Jackal, Fox, Jungle Cat and a variety of Birds.
PAKHAL Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Warangal District. Area
860.20 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: A large scenic lake in the middle of
the forests adds beauty to the area.
FLORA: Dry deciduous Teak forest with Bamboo,
Mohua, Terminalia, Pterocarpus.
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Sambar, Cheetal,
Nilgai, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Hyena,
Jackal, Fox and migratory Birds like Duck, Teal, Ibis,
Stork and Cormorant.
KINNERASANI Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Khammam District. Area
635.40 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: The picturesque Kinnerasani Lake
with densely forested islands in the middle present a
breath taking sight.
FLORA: Dry deciduous Teak forest with Bamboo,
Terminalias, Anogeissus, Cassia.
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Cheetal, Chinkara,
Chowsingha, Sambar, Wild Boar, Wild Dog, Hyena,
Jackal, Sloth Bear and a variety of ground nesting
and aquatic birds. The Kinnerasani lake and water
pools harbour Marsh Crocodile.
PAPIKONDA Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: East Godavari, West Godavari &
Khammam Districts. Area 591 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: The sight of mighty Godavari meandering
through densely Forested hills with deep gorges & valleys
provides an unforgettable experience.
FLORA: Dry deciduous Teak forest with Bamboo, Terminalia,
Pterocarpus, Cassias and other species conforming to the
Eastern Ghat vegetation.
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Gaur, Cheetal, Chowsingha, Sambar,
Black Buck, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog,
Hyena, Jackal, Wild Boar, Marsh Crocodile and a variety of birds
both resident and migratory.
CORINGA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
LOCATION & AREA: East Godavari District. Area 235.70 Sq.
UNIQUENESS: The largest surviving patch of Mangrove forests
in the State with more than 65 Mangrove tree species. Home for
the rare, endangered Smooth Indian Otter, Fishing Cat,
FLORA: The Sanctuary in the estuary of river Godavari supports
rich mangrove vegetation with species like Rhizophora,
Avicennia, Sonneratia, Aegiceros.
FAUNA: Otter, Fishing Cat, Jackal, Marine Turtle and Estuarine
Crocodile. Most common birds are Sea Gulls, Storks, Herons,
Snipes, Ducks and Flamingos.
KOLLERU Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: West Godavari District. Area
308.55 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: Largest fresh water lake in the
Country. It is one of the Ramsar convention wetland
FLORA: A fresh water wetland habitat with Ipomea,
Eichornia, Reeds, Tall grasses.
FAUNA: Water birds like Garganys, Teals,
Pochards, Spot Bills, Brahminy Ducks, Open Bill
Storks, Herons, occasionally Flamingos & Grey
KRISHNA Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Krishna and Guntur District.
Area 194.81 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: The last surviving mangrove forests
in the Krishna estuary with unique flora & fauna.
FLORA: The Sanctuary supports rich mangrove
vegetation with plants like Rhizophora, Avicennia,
FAUNA: Fishing Cat, Otter, Jackal, Estuarine
Crocodile and a variety of local & migratory birds.
POCHARAM Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Medak & Nizamabad
Districts. Area 129.84 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: The vast Pocharam Lake adjoining
the Pocharam Sanctuary makes it a place worth
FLORA: Mixed dry deciduous forest with patches of
scrub and grassy plains. Terrain undulating with low
hills and small water pools.
FAUNA: Panther, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Cheetal,
Sambar, Nilgai, Chowsingha, Chinkara, Hyena,
Jackal, Python, Ducks, Teals, Storks, Partridges
MANJIRA Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Medak District. Area 20 Sq.
UNIQUENESS: A man made reservoir, which is a
haven for aquatic birds, Marsh Crocodiles. Lifeline
to Hyderabad City supplying drinking water.
FLORA: Fresh water Eco-System with species like
Ipomea, Babool, Prosopis, Vallisnaria, Eichornia,
FAUNA: Riverine habitat supporting Marsh
Crocodile, fresh water Turtles and a variety of
aquatic birds like Herons, Storks, Teals, Ducks,
Geese, King Fishers, Moon Hens, Jacanas, Kites,
NAGARJUNA SAGAR Srisailam
LOCATION & AREA: Guntur, Prakasham, Kurnool,
UNIQUENESS: Largest Tiger reserve in India spreading over 5
Districts with river Krishna flowing through the reserve presenting
some breathtaking sights with hills, valleys and deep gorges.
FLORA: Dry deciduous mixed forests along river Krishna with
Teak, Bamboo, Terminilias, Hardwickias, Anogeissus and
hundreds of medicinal plants.
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Jackal, Wolf, Fox,
Ratel, Indian Giant Squirrel, Tree Shrew, Cheetal, Mouse Deer,
Black Buck, Sambar, Chowsingha, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Mugger
Crocodile, Rock Python and Peafowl.
ROLLAPADU Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA : Kurnool District. Area 6.14
UNIQUENESS: The only habitat in the State for the
rare and highly endangered Great Indian Bustard.
FLORA: Open dry grassland interspersed with
FAUNA: Great Indian Bustard, Black Buck, Wolf,
Jackal, Bonnet Monkey, Russell’s Viper and Cobra.
LOCATION & AREA: Kurnool & Prakasam Districts. Area 1194
UNIQUENESS: The last surviving pristine forests of Nallamalai
tract, rich in plants of Ethno-Botanical values. Has some of the
most scenic forest areas.
FLORA: Mixed deciduous forest of Teak, Pterocarpuss,
Terminalia, Albizzia, Anogeissius, Dalbergia, Boswellia,
Shisham, Andug & Bamboo. Gundlakamma a perennial river
criss-crosses through the sanctuary on its eastern parts.
FAUNA: Tiger, Panther, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Hyena, Jungle
Cat, Langur, Bonnet Monkey, Pangolin, Sambar, Nilgai,
Chowsingha, Chinkara, Mouse Deer, Monitor Lizard, Python and
SRI LANKAMALLESWARA Wildlife
LOCATION & AREA: Cuddapah District. Area
464.42 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: The only habitat in the world
harbouring the Jerdon’s Courser a highly
FLORA: Dry deciduous mixed thorn forests with
deep gorges and steep slopes. Red Sanders, an
endemic species is found here.
FAUNA: Panther, Sloth Bear, Cheetal, Sambar,
Chowsingha, Chinkara, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Fox and
the Jerdon’s Courser
NELAPATTU Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Nellore District. Area 4.58 Sq.
UNIQUENESS: The largest breeding ground for the
Grey Pelicans. You can watch the Pelicans in their
nests from a few feet away.
FLORA: A fresh water tank with Barringtonia trees
providing nesting ground for Pelicans, also has
Babul, Psosopis, Ipomea.
FAUNA: Grey Pelican, Open Bill Stork, Spoon Bill,
White Ibis, Night Heron, Cormorant, Teals, Ducks
etc. Villagers of Nelapattu offer full protection to
PULICAT Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Nellore District. Area 500 Sq. Kms.
UNIQUENESS: The second largest brackish water Eco-System
in the Country supporting the largest congregation of Flamingos
in the State.
FLORA: A vast coastal shallow, brackish water lake along the
coast of Bay of Bengal into which several fresh water streams
drain. Species include Prosopis, Casuarina, Ipomea, Pongamia
FAUNA: The back waters attract large congregation of Greater
and Lesser Flamingos, Grey Pelican, Painted Stork, Spoon Bills,
Grey Heron, Ducks, Teals, Terns, Herons, Gull and a number of
KAUNDINYA Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Chittoor District; 357.60 Sq.
UNIQUENESS: The area to which Elephants have
returned after 200 years. The only Elephant
Reserve in the State.
FLORA: Southern tropical dry deciduous and thorn
forests consisting of Albizzias, Accacias,
Lagerstroemea, Ficus, Bamboo.
FAUNA: Indian Elephant, Sloth Bear, Panther,
Cheetal, Chowsingha, Sambar, Porcupine, Wild
Boar, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Jungle Fowl, Starred
Tortoise, Slender Loris.
SRI PENINSULA NARASIMHASWAMY
LOCATION & AREA: Nellore District. Area 1030.85
UNIQUENESS: Comprises a unique and
endangered forest type viz. the dry evergreen
forests. Hilly slopes, rolling forested areas and low
valleys make this place worth visiting.
FLORA: Dry evergreen forest type with species like
Accacias, Cassias, Pongamia, Carissa etc.
FAUNA: Panther, Cheetal, Nilgai, Chowsingha,
Sloth Bear, Jackal, Wild Boar, large number of
Reptile and Bird species.
SRI PENINSULA NARASIMHASWAMY
KAMBALAKONDA Wildlife Sanctuary
LOCATION & AREA: Visakhapatnam. Area 70.70
UNIQUENESS: A large and sprawling greenery
around the Vizag City harbouring diverse flora &
FLORA: Dry evergreen forest mixed with scrub and
meadows. Terrain hilly with steep slopes.
FAUNA: Panthers, Spotted Deers, Sambar, Barking
Deer, Wild Boar, Jackal, Wild Dog etc.
4 Ethno-botanical gardens with about 400 species were
established in the 4 Regional Research Centers in the
state located at Rajahmundry, Tirupathi, Mulugu near
Hyderabad and Achuthapuram in Khammam District to
create awareness on Medicinal Plants among the
officials and staff of the department and the general
Sample plots of different Medicinal plants are raised in
these gardens. The Ethno-botanical garden at
Rajahmundry has an Arboretum too with various tree
species collected and planted basing on Bentham and
The production of seed and seedlings of different
species for utilization as planting material is also
achieved in these gardens on a limited scale. There is
an enormous scope for increasing this activity.
INDIA AS A MEGA-DIVERSITY NATION
The country has a rich heritage of biodiversity,
encompassing a wide spectrum of habitats from
tropical rainforests to alpine vegetation, and from
temperate forests to coastal wetlands.
Almost all the biogeographical regions of the world
are represented here in India.
1. With a mere 2.4% of the total land area of the
world, the known biodiversity of India contributes
8.22% of the known global biodiversity.
2. India is one of the twelve mega-diversity nations
of the world .
3. India is in the tenth position in the world and fourth in
the Asia in terms of plant diversity.
4. And in terms of number of mammalian species, the
country ranks tenth in the world; and
5. In endemic species of higher vertebrates, it ranks
6. In terms of number of species contributed to
agriculture and animal husbandry, it ranks seventh in the
7. India has two major realms called the Palaearctic and
the Indo- Malayan; and three biomes, namely the tropical
humid forests, the tropical dry deciduous forests and the
The Palearctic or Palaearctic is
one of the eight ecozones dividing
the Earth surface.
Physically, the Palearctic is the
largest ecozone. It includes the
terrestrial ecoregions of Europe,
Asia north of the Himalaya
foothills, northern Africa, and the
northern and central parts of the
The Indomalaya Ecosystem was
previously called the Oriental region.
The Indomalaya Ecozone
It extends from the Makran region of
southern Pakistan through the Indian
subcontinent and Southeast Asia to
lowland southern China, and through
Indonesia as far as Java, Bali, and
Borneo, east of which lies the Wallace
line, the ecozone boundary named after
Alfred Russell Wallace which separates
Indomalaya from Australasia.
Indomalaya also includes the
Philippines, lowland Taiwan and Japan's
8.India can be divided into ten biogeographic zones
and 26 biotic provinces which represent the major
ecosystems of the world.
9. India figures with two 'hotspots'—the Western
Ghats and the Eastern Himalayas—in an
identification of 25 hotspots by Mayers et. at. 2000).
10. Endemism: Species which are restricted only to
a particular area are known as endemic.
India shows a good number of endemic species.
About 62% of amphibians and 50% of lizards are
endemic to India.
Western ghats are the site of maximum endemism.
India has 26 recognised endemic centres.
11. Protected area : A protected area as defined by the World
Conservation Union (IUCN) is an area of land and/or sea
especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of
biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural
resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.
Biosphere reserves : which protect larger areas of natural
habitat (than a National Park or Animal Sanctuary), and often
include one or more National Parks and/or preserves, along
buffer zones that are open to some economic uses.
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is the collection of all
482 biosphere reserves in 102 countries (as of mid-2005).
India has 5 world heritage sites, 12 biosphere reserves, and 6
Ramsar wetlands amongst the protected areas.
S.No. Site Location
1. Kaziranga National Park Assam
2. Keoladeo Ghana National
3. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary Assam
4. Nanda Devi National Park Uttar Pradesh
5. Sundarban National Park West Bengal
India’s world heritage sites
S.No. Name of the site Location (State /U.T.)
1. Nilgiri Part of Wynad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai,
Nilambur, Silent . Valley and Siruvani hills (Tamil
Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka)
2. Nanda Devi Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Almora Districts
3. Nokrerk Part of Gora Hills (Meghalaya)
4. Manas Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari,
Kamprup and Darang district (Assam)
5. Sunderbans Part of delta of Ganga and Brahamaputra river system
6. Gulf of Mannar Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri
Lanka (Tamil Nadu)
7. Great Nicobar Southern most Islands of Andaman and Nicobar (A &
8. Similpal Part of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa)
9. Dibru-Saikhowa Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia district (Assam)
10. Dehang Debang Part of Siang and Debang velly (Arunachal Pradesh)
11. Pachmarhi Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts
12. Kanchanjanga Part of Kanchanjanga Hills (Sikkim)
12. Further, amongst the protected areas, there are 33 botanical
gardens, 89 national parks and 504 sanctuaries in India.
13. The Ministry of Forests and Environment (MOEF) reports that
India has at present 89,317 species of fauna and 45,364 species
of flora representing about 7.31% of the world fauna and 10.88%
the world flora described so far.
14. Center of origin: A large number of species are known to
have originated in India.
Nearly 5000 species of flowering plants had their origin in India.
India has been the center of origin of 166 species of crop plants
and 320 species of wild relatives of cultivated crops, thereby
providing a broad spectrum of diversity of traits for our crop
Further, India is considered to be the centre
of origin of 30,000 to 50,000 varieties of rice,
pigeon-pea, mango, turmeric, ginger,
sugarcane, gooseberries, etc. and ranks
seventh in terms of contribution to world
India is one of the 12 centres of origin of
15. Marine diversity: India also boosts of rich marine biodiversity,
along the costline of 7516.5 km with exclusive economic zone of 202
million sq. km, supporting the most productive ecosystems such as
mangrooves, estivaries, lagoons and coral reefs.
The number of zooplankton (polychaeta , Crustacea and molluscs )
recorded is about 16,000 species. Over 30 species of marine algae and
14 species of seagrass have been reported.
There are over 45 species of mangroove plants. Over 342 species of
corals belonging to 76 genera have been reported and about 50% of the
world's reef building corals are found in India.
There are about 93 major wet lands, coral reefs and mangroves which
need to be studied in detail. Indian forests cover 64.01 million hectares
having a rich biodiversity of plants.
16. India is a signatory to the International conventions like Convention
of International Trade on Endangered species (CITES) and Convention
of Migratory Species (CMS) which aim at conserving biodiversity.
HOT SPOTS OF BIODIVERSITY
Hotspots are the main areas of focus for biodiversity
These are the areas that are extremely rich in biodiversity,
have high level of endemism, and are under constant
threat of species extinctions and habitat destruction.
Areas which exhibit high species richness as well as high
species endemism are termed as hot spots of biodiversity.
These hotspots covering less than 2% of the world's land
area are found to have about 50% of the terrestrial
1. Tropical Andes
4. Brazil's Atlantic Forest
5. Choco/Darien/Western Ecuador
6. Brazil's Cerrado
7. Central Chile
8. California Floristic Province
10. Eastern Arc and Coastal Forests of
11. Western African Forests
12. Cape Floristic Province
13. Succulent Karoo
14. Mediterranean Basin
20. South-Central China
21. Western Gnats/Sri Lanka
22. SW Australia
23. New Caledonia
24. New Zealand
The term was introduced by Norman Myers (1988). Myers et al
(2000) recognized 25 hot spots. These are on a global level out
of which two are present in India, namely the Eastern Himalayas
and Western Ghats.
According to Myers et al. (2000) an area is designated as a
hotspot when it contains at least 0.5% of the plant species as
The Indian hot spots are not only rich in floral wealth and
endemic species of plants but also reptiles, amphibians, swallow
tailed butterflies and some mammals. Nearly 70% of the bird
species in this hotspot are endemic.
These are the areas of high diversity, endemism and are also
threatened by human activities. About 40% of terrestrial plants
and 25% of vertebrate species are endemic and found in these
The 25 hotspots contain 44% of all vascular
plant species and 35% of terrestrial
vertebrates and encompass only 1.4% of the
However, collectively they have lost 88% of
their original primary vegetation.
Species in these areas are at risk from
extinction if further habitat loss occurs.
It has been estimated that 50,000 endemic plants,
which comprise 20% of global plant life, probably
occur in only 18 ‘hotsopts’ in the world.
Countries which have a relatively large proportion of
these biodiversity hotspots are referred to as ‘mega-
Hotspots in India:
Eastern himalayas and western ghats.
These areas are particularly rich in floral wealth and
endemism, not only in flowering plants but also in
reptiles, amphibians , swallow tailed butterflies, and
The area comprises Nepal, Bhutan, and neighboring states of
northern India, along with a continuous sector of the Yunnan
province in Southwest china.
All Himalayan forests lie north of the Tropic of Cancer, and some of
them are at altitudes of 1780 -3500 m, they can be considered
tropical forests .
Many deep and semi isolated valleys are exceptionally rich in
endemic plant species, In Sikkim, in an area of 7298 km2 , of the
4250 plant species , 2550 (60%) are endemic..
In Nepal, there are around 7000 plant species, many of which
overlap with those of India, Bhutan, and even Yunnan. Of these
species, at least 500(8%) are believed to be endemic to Nepal.
Bhutan, possesses an estimated 5000 species, of which as many as
750 (15%) are considered to be endemic to the Eastern Himalayas
Out of India’s 49219 plant species , 1600 endemics(40% of the
total number of endemics) are found in an 17000km2 along the
sea side of the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil
Forest track up to 500 in elevation, comprising one – fifth of the
entire forest expanse, are mostly evergreen, while those in 500-
1500 m range are semi- evergreen.
There are two main centers of diversity, the Agasthyamalai Hills
and the Silent Valley/New Amambalam Reserve Basin.
The forest cover in western Ghats has reduced 34 % from 1972-
Floral and faunal commonality of India's two hot
Although the two areas (the Eastern Himalayas and the Western
Ghats) are today disjunct and have their own characteristic flora
and fauna, there are a number of species common to both.
Common floral species include Ternstroemia japonica,
Rhododendron arboreum, Hypericum hookerianum, Thalictrum
javanicum, Cotoneaster buxifolia, Parnassia wightiana, Lonicera
ligustrina, Gaultheria fragrantissima, and Symplocos lauriana.
Amongst fauna, the Himalayan and Nilgiri Tahr, the Nilgiri Pine
Marten, the Laughing Thrush (associated with the plant genus
Rubus), the Great Pied Hornbill (Bicornis homrai), the Frogmouth
(Batrachostomus hodgsoni hodgsoni) the Fairy Blue Bird (Irena
puella), Lizard Hawks (Accipter spp.), and the Rufous Bellied
Hawk-Eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii) are found in both regions
THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY
Extinction, the elimination of a species, is a normal
process in nature.
The rate of extinction, in undisturbed ecosystems, is
estimated to be about one species per decade.
In the last many decades, however, human impacts
on populations and ecosystems have accelerated
that rate, causing hundreds of species, subspecies
and varieties to become extinct every year.
And, if the present trends continue, millions of kinds
of plants, animals and microbes may be destroyed
in the next few decades.
The causes of extinction are broadly grouped into
five risk categories
1.Population Risk: Random variations in population
rates (i.e. birth rates and death rates) can cause a
species in low abundance to become extinct. It is a
risk especially to species that consist of only a
single population in one habitat.
For example—blue whales. As they swim over the
vast areas of ocean, and if in one year most whales
were unsuccessful in finding a mate then births
could be dangerously low.
2. Environmental Risk: Environmental risk means variation in the
physical or biological environment, including variations in predator,
prey, symbiotic or competitor species. In case of species that are
sufficiently rare and isolated, such normal environmental variations
can lead to their extinction.
3.Natural Catastrophe: A natural catastrophe is a sudden change
in the environment (not as a result of human action). It includes
fires, storms, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, changes in
oceanic currents and upwellings, etc. Such a natural catastrophe
may cause the local extinction of most forms of life there.
4.Genetic Risk: Deterimental change in genetic characteristics in a
small population of a species, due to reduced genetic variation,
genetic drift or mutation, makes the species more vulnurable to
extinction because it lacks the variety once present or because a
mutation that leads to poor health becomes fixed in population.
Human actions cause extinction of species
A. Habitat Loss and Degradation: Habitat loss and
degradation are the major proximate causes of
species extinction, affecting 89% of all threatened
birds, 83% of mammals and 91% of all threatened
plants assessed globally .
The main causes of habitat loss are agricultural
activities, harvesting or extraction (including mining,
fishing, logging, etc.) and development of human
settlements, industry and associated infrastructure.
B. Habitat Fragmentation: It is a process
where a large, continuous area of habitat is
both, reduced in area and divided into two or
Habitat fragmention may take place due to
the development of roads, towers, canals,
fields, industries, etc. in an original large
C. Diseases: Pathogens, or disease
organisms, may also be considered
Predators. The incidence of disease in wild
species may increase due to human
D. Genetic Assimilation : Some rare and
endangered species are threatened by
genetic assimilation because they crossbreed
with closely related species that are more
numerous or more vigorous
E. Pollution: Environmental pollution is the
most subtle form of habitat degradation.
The most common causes of which are
pesticides, industrial effluents and emissions,
and emission from automobiles.
F. Poaching: Poaching is another insidious
threat that has emerged in recent decades as
one of the primary reasons for the decline in
number of species.
G. Introduction of Exotic Species:
Organisms introduced into habitats where
they are not native are termed as exotics.
They can be thought of as biological
pollutants and are considered to be among
the most damaging agents of habitat
alteration and degradation in the world
A major problem associated with the conservation
of wild animals especially the herbivores like
elephants in India is that of crop depredation and
Animals such as elephants, gaur, sambar, wild boar
and birds like peacock, cause extensive damage to
This phenomenon has registered significant
increase in recent years due to habitat
fragmentation and degradation of natural forests
Instances of man animal conflicts keep on coming to
lime light from several states in our country.
In Sambalpur, Orissa 195 humans were killed in the
last 5 years by elephants.
In retaliation the villagers killed 98 elephants and
badly injured 30 elephants.
Several instances of killing of elephants in the
border regions of Kote - Chamarajanagar belt in
Mysore have been reported recently.
ENDANGERED SPECIES OF
The International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN) maintains what may be called a 'Red
Database' at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)
in which information on endangered and vulnerable species of
plants and animals is kept.
From time to time, this database is translated into popular form
and published as 'Red Data Books'.
The red data symbolizes the warning signal for those species
which are endangered and if not protected are likely to become
extinct in near future.
In India, nearly 450 plant species have been
identified in the categories of endangered,
threatened or rare.
Existence of about 150 mammals and 150
species of birds is estimated to be threatened
while an unknown number of species of
insects are endangered.
It may not be of direct relevance here to give
a complete list of endangered flora and fauna
of our country.
However, a few species of endangered reptiles,
birds, mammals and plants are given below:
(a)Reptiles: Gharial, green sea turtle, tortoise,
(b)Birds: Great Indian bustard, Peacock, Pelican,
Great Indian Hornbill, Siberian White Crane
(c)Carnivorous:Indian wolf, red fox, Sloth bear, red
panda, Mammals tiger, leopard, striped hyena,
Indian lion, golden cat, desert cat, dugong
(d)Primates: Hoolock gibbon, lion-tailed macaque,
Nilgiri langur, Capped monkey, golden monkey
(e) Plants: A large number of species of orchids,
Rhododendrons, medicinal plants like Rauwolfia
serpentina, the sandal wood tree Santalum, Cycas
(i) Endangered Species : A species is said to be
endangered when its number has been reduced to a
critical level or whose habitats, have been drastically
reduced and if such a species is not protected and
conserved, it is in immediate danger of extinction.
(ii) Vulnerable Species : The species that are
under threat such that they may have to be
classified as endangered in the near future if causal
factors continue to operate.
These include species whose populations have
been seriously depleted and whose ultimate security
is not assured, as well as those species whose
populations are still abundant but are under threat
throughout their range.
(iii) Rare Species : These are species with small total population
size in the world. In their distribution, they are usually localized
within restricted habitats or geographical area or are thinly scattered
over an extensive range.
It is necessary to mention here that a species that is rare is not
necessarily in danger of becoming extinct ; some species, like the
whooping crane, are naturally rare.
However, rarity does raise concerns about the possibility of
extinction. Rare species, thus, are not at present endangered and ,
vulnerable but are at risks.
(iv) Threatened Species : The term 'threatened' is used in the
context of conservation of the species which are in any one of the
above three categories.
These are species that have declined significantly in total numbers
and may be on the verge of extinction in certain localities.
ENDEMIC SPECIES OF INDIA:
Endemics are species that are found in a single
locality/area and nowhere else in the world.
They, thus, have a value in their uniqueness.
The endemism of Indian biodiversity is quite high.
About 33% of the country's flora are endemic to the
country and are concentrated mainly in the North-
East, Western Ghats, North-West Himalaya and the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Out of about 47,000 species of plants in our country
7000 are endemic.
The enormous value of biodiversity due to
their genetic, commercial, medical, aesthetic,
ecological and optional importance
emphasizes the need to conserve
Definition : The act or process of
conserving. The protection, preservation,
management, or restoration of wildlife and of
natural resources such as forests, soil, and
Conservation is defined as 'the
management of human use of the biosphere
so that it may yield the greatest sustainable
benefit to present generation while
maintaining its potential to meet the needs
and aspirations of future generations'.
There are two approaches of biodiversity
In situ conservation (within habitat): This is
achieved by protection of wild flora and fauna in
nature itself, e.g. Biosphere Reserves, National
Parks, Sanctuaries, Reserve Forests etc.
Ex situ conservation (outside habitats) This is
done by establishment of gene banks, seed banks,
zoos, botanical gardens, culture collections etc.
This type of conservation is mainly done for conservation of crop
varieties, the wild relatives of crops and all the local varieties with the
main objective of conserving the total genetic variability of the crop
species for future crop improvement or afforestation programmes.
In India, we have the following important gene bank/seed bank
(i) National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) is located
in New Delhi. Here agricultural and horticultural crops and their wild
relatives are preserved by cryo-preservation of seeds, pollen etc. by
using liquid nitrogen at a temperature as low as -196 °C.
Varieties of rice, pearl millet, Brassica, turnip, radish, tomato, onion,
carrot, chilli, tobacco, poppy etc. have been preserved successfully in
liquid nitrogen for several years without losing seed viability.
(ii) National Bureau of Animal Genetic
Resources (NBAGR) located at Karnal,
Haryana. It preserves the semen of
domesticated bovine animals.
(iii) National Facility for Plant Tissue
Culture Repository (NFPTCR) for the
development of a facility of conservation of
varieties of crop plants/trees by tissue
culture. This facility has been created within
Endangered animal species are preserved using
The genetic information needed in the future to
reproduce endangered animal species can be
preserved in genebanks, which consist of
cryogenic facilities used to store living sperm,
eggs, or embryos.
The Zoological Society of San Diego has
established a "frozen zoo" to store such samples
from more than 355 species, including
mammals, reptiles, and birds.