Biodiversity in India
Biodiversity refers to the different arrays of life forms available on earth of plants and animals. The differences occur through differences in species, genetics, and ecosystem. India is one of the world’s most biodiverse country in the world as it houses approximately ten percent of the worldwide species. Due to its large size making it the second largest country on earth, it traverses through different regions, climatic regions, cultural heritage and socio-cultural practices that host most of the popular lifeforms that inform its biodiversity. Diversity in India is an important aspect that elicits numerous benefits.
The biodiversity in India occurs in three levels. Species diversity presents where different types of living things are present in a particular area. India on average hosts about two million species that live in its forests, wetlands and in water. For example, birds, reptiles, amphibians, flowers, and fishes. Secondly, Genetic diversity refers to the variation that different organisms hold in their individual genetic make-up. The genetic variations in India are numerous among different organisms that help the organisms adapt to different environments. For instance, India has over fifty thousand genetically different strains of rice that grow in the different regions of the country. Thirdly, Ecosystem diversity refers to the different habitats in terms of weather, vegetation, and geography. Different life forms inhabit different ecosystems that are present in India such as deserts, forests, mangroves, wetlands, and estuaries.
Biodiversity provides immense benefits to the country of India. First, are the economic benefits. Biodiversity provides food for the residents as the different species of plants and animals are potential food sources. For instance, amaranth, buckwheat, chenopod, wild rabbits, and pigeons. The different species of plants are beneficial to agricultural research as their genetic differences facilitate researches that provide better strains of food crops that grow fast, yield more harvests and that weather insects and diseases. Different species of plants present in different ecosystems such as Aloe Vera, Datura, and Catharanthus Roseus among others are beneficial medicinal plants useful in healing various ailments or as raw materials to synthesize modern drug. The plants also benefit the economy by providing raw materials such as wood utilized in building, as fuel and as raw materials for clothes and paper.
Moreover, India is a host to two of the largest hot spots for biodiversity namely the Eastern Himalaya and the Western Ghats, which are among the richest ecosystems. The two are beneficial tourist attractions as they are home to plants, reptiles, amphibians, elephants, tigers and lions. Among these species of animals are endangered species such as, Jenkin’s shrew, Salim Ali’s fruit bat, Asian elephant, Indus river dolphin, Ganges river dolphin among others, which attract numerous tourists.
Ecological benefits also occur. These include the ability to utilize goods such as forest vegetation that protect the environment from soil erosion, climate change and that protects water sourced from the ground. It also protects services provided by ecological systems that include purification of water, and soil conservation. Additionally, it enables the maintenance of the hydrological cycle as plants present utilize water and produce it as vapor that then develops respiration and rain occur thereby accentuating this process. Moreover, the insects and organisms found in the soil contribute to its fertility when they decompose.
Cultural and spiritual benefits are ripped from biodiversity. People hold different beliefs whereby various plants, trees or animals such as the Neem plant, the Ashoka tree, and animals such as Cows, and Cobra are culturally or spiritually important to their heritage. Therefore, their existence in their diverse life forms, enable different people to uphold their religious and cultural beliefs and practices. Moreover, certain landscapes are believed to house sacred places such hills and some water bodies.