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Biodiversity and Conservation


  • Biodiversity occurs not only in the species level, but also in the macromolecular levels.

  • Biodiversity as described by Edward Wilson is the combined diversity at all levels of biological organisation.

  • The most important forms of biodiversity are:

    • Genetic diversity (diversity at the genetic level)

    • Species diversity (diversity at the species level)

    • Ecological diversity (diversity at the ecosystem level)

  • There are close to 1.5 million plants and animals that have to be discovered and described. More species have been discovered in temperate regions as compared to tropics.

  • According to an estimate made by Robert May, global species biodiversity is about 7 million.

  • Of the total species discovered so far, 70% are animals and 22% are plants. Of the animals, 70% are insects.

  • India has 2.4% of the world’s land and 8.1% of the total species diversity. According to May’s estimate, 78% of the biodiversity is still to be discovered.

  • Applying this to India’s biodiversity figures, there still is a scope for discovery of over 1 lakh species of plants and 3 lakh species of animals.

Patterns of Biodiversity

  • Latitudinal gradients − The plants and animals are not distributed evenly worldwide. The diversity of living forms decreases as we go from the equator towards the poles. A huge amount of plants and animals are concentrated in the tropical region because of the following reasons.

  • Tropical environment is less seasonal and almost constant and predictable as compared to temperate environment.

  • Tropics receive the major part of the solar energy, which contributes to great productivity.

  • Speciation is d…

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