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An Online India is an information source on India. This article  is about conservation of Flora and Fauna.

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CONSERVATION

Unlike in the past, habitat destruction and other environmental damage are eroding our natural flora
Unlike in the past, habitat destruction and other
environmental damage are eroding our natural flora


Fast-diminishing wealth - The now extinct Cheetah is a concern for the many species of Indian wildlife under threat
Fast-diminishing wealth - The now extinct Cheetah is a
concern for the many species of Indian wildlife under threat

C0NSERVATION OF FLORA & FAUNA

Flora is basically the plant life that is present in a particular region or habitat or at a particular time and fauna is the animal life that is present in a particular region or habitat or at a particular time. Biodiversity is a very large topic and somewhat difficult to define adequately in only a sentence or two. In the very simplest terms, "biodiversity" means the diversity of life on our planet, which includes genetic diversity, species diversity, and habitat diversity. Diversity can be defined as the number of different items and their relative frequency. For biological diversity, these items are organized at many levels, ranging from complete ecosystems to the chemical structures that are the molecular basis of heredity. Thus, the term encompasses different ecosystems, species, genes, and their relative abundance." The area of flora, fauna and biodiversity is quite interrelated. Flora and fauna forms a major part of biodiversity.
India is a land of varied flora, fauna and biodiversity. India is one of the twelve mega-diverse nations of the World. Two of India's great mountain ranges, the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats have been designated among the world's eighteen 'hotspots' of biodiversity. But In the last few decades we have seen a steady increase in the extinction rate of flora, fauna etc. all over world including India and so now, conservation of biological diversity is of paramount importance to the survival of man. Conservation of biological diversity leads to conservation of essential ecological diversity to preserve the continuity of food chains. The genetic diversity of plants and animals is preserved. It ensures the sustainable utilisation of life support systems on earth. It provides a vast knowledge of potential use to the scientific community. A reservoir of wild animals and plants is preserved, thus enabling them to be introduced, if need be, in the surrounding areas. Biological diversity provides immediate benefits to the society such as recreation and tourism. Biodiversity conservation serves as an insurance policy for the future.

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Flora of India
Many believe only animals are endangered. They think wild plants can just grow back after damage. Our native plants are declining at an alarming rate. Among them are some of the most beautiful and useful species on Earth. The implications of this trend are stunning. The importance of plants to life on Earth is immeasurable. The landscape and wildlife we cherish, the food we eat, even the very air we breathe is connected to plant life.
Plants support wildlife. For every plant species that goes extinct, up to 30 other species of plants, insects and other animals may also decline. Plants provide the food and habitat for wildlife, from birds and butterflies, to antelope and field mice!
Plants support a healthy environment. They provide clean air, help hold soil in place, clean water, moderate wind and water impacts, and shade the earth.
Plants support people. Plants give many gifts to man. They provide food, fiber, fuels, pharmaceuticals, ornamentals and fragrance. Many of our native plants are known to contain chemicals that can be used to treat human illnesses. Others have the ability to fight agricultural pests and improve existing crops. Even more economic and scientific treasures await discovery. Each species is a potential natural resource.
This is a real crisis. Habitat destruction, invasive foreign plants and animals, over collection, and other environmental damage are eroding our natural plant communities. Some species have declined to such small numbers that a bad storm or a plant collector could wipe them out in minutes. Without intervention they will be lost forever.
The vegetation of India comprises some 15,000 species of plants. The jungles are thick and wooded with the flora to back up the fabulous fauna. Evergreen forests in the north-east and along the Western Ghats, moist and dry deciduous forests of the plains, swampy marshes of Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, pinewoods of the Himalayan foothills and the lagoons and estuaries down south - each pave for a different ecosystem, sheltering unique forms of plant and animal life.
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Fauna of India

India has some of the world's most biodiverse regions. The political boundaries of India encompass a wide range of ecozonesódesert, high mountains, highlands, tropical and temperate forests, swamplands, plains, grasslands, riverine areas as well as island archipelago. It hosts three biodiversity hotspots: the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas, and the hilly ranges that straddle the India-Myanmar border.
India's 3,166,414 square kilometres shows a notable diversity of habitats, with significant variations in rainfall, altitude, topography, and latitude. The region is also heavily influenced by summer monsoons that cause major seasonal changes in vegetation and habitat.
India is home to several well known large mammals including the Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lion, Leopard and Indian Rhinoceros, often engrained culturally and religiously often being associated with deities. Other well known large Indian mammals include ungulates such as the rare Wild Asian Water buffalo, common Domestic Asian Water buffalo, Nilgai, Gaur and several species of deer and antelope. Some members of the dog family such as the Indian Wolf, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal and the Dhole or Wild Dogs are also widely distributed. It is also home to the Striped Hyaena, Macaques, Langurs and Mongoose species.
Many of the gods are associated with certain animals: Brahma with the deer, Vishnu with the lion and cobra, Siva with the bull, and Ganesh, the eternal symbol of wisdom, is half man and half elephant. The earliest known conservation laws come from India in the 3rd century BC, when Emperor Ashoka wrote the Fifth Pillar Edict, forbidding the slaughter of certain wildlife and the forests. Unfortunately, during the recent turbulent history of India, much of this tradition has been lost. Extensive hunting by the British and Indian rajas, large-scale clearing of forests for agriculture, availability of guns, poaching, strong pesticides and the ever - increasing population have had disastrous effects on India's environment. Only around 10% of the country still has forest cover, and only 4% is protected within national parks and similar reserves. However, in the past few decades the government has taken serious steps towards environmental management and has established over 350 parks, sanctuaries and reserves.

Conservation
The need for conservation of wildlife in India is often questioned because of the apparently incorrect priority in the face of dire poverty of the people. However Article 48 of the Constitution of India specifies that "the state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country" and Article 51-A states that "it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures."
Large and charismatic mammals are important for wildlife tourism in India and several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries cater to these needs. Project Tiger started in 1972 is a major effort to conserve the tiger and its habitats. At the turn of the 20th century, one estimate of the tiger population in India placed the figure at 40,000, yet an Indian tiger census conducted in 1972 revealed the existence of only 1827 tigers. Various pressures in the later part of the 20th century led to the progressive decline of wilderness resulting in the disturbance of viable tiger habitats.
Conservation projects have been established to preserve them, but for some species, such as the Indian cheetah, protection has come too late - the Indian cheetah was last seen in 1948.
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Ecology and Ecosystem (E&E)
An ecosystem is a complex set of relationships among living resources, habitats and residents of a region. And Ecology is the scientific study of the processes influencing the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and the transformation and flux of energy and matter.
India is blessed with a wide variety of ecosystems. But its ecosystems and ecology are assaulted increasingly. Ecological understanding offer tangible hope for addressing extremely complex and potentially devastating assaults on local, regional and global ecosystems. And this kind of understanding can only be developed when information on varied ecosystems and ecology reach out not only to policy makers but also to people at large. It should especially reach out to the weaker segments of the populations of developing countries like India, for these are the people who suffer most from a loss of nature's services. Information on ecology and ecosystems help in identifying key issues as well as identifying trends, drivers and potential responses. These would provide lessons that would be of great value to the decentralized development planning.
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Status of Environment
Severe environmental degradation threatens to undermine the productivity and economic growth. Against this backdrop, the challenge for the Indian states is not only to minimize the environmental degradation but also to structure the economic decision-making process, keeping in mind the environmental concerns to make the state's development sustainable. And a sound decision-making process can only be based on reliable and timely information. Status of Environment (SoE) provides an analysis of the available information. It aims to provide details on the current status of the main environmental issues in the different states of India. It covers a wide range of environment related issues starting from human settlement, atmosphere, land, water, biodiversity to ecological sustainable development etc. It provides information on the various human activities that exert pressure on different environmental components. Impact of demographic shifts, urban sprawls, growth of the poor, changes in trends of industrial, commercial, and transport character, urban economic activities, etc. on air, water, land, biological environments, environmental health etc. are studied and analyzed in the report. The report also analyzes responses of the society, examines policies and strategies initiated under regulatory mechanisms along with their impacts. Besides, it identifies the information gaps, and highlights the main policy issues for decision-makers
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Environment and Energy Management
The word environment depicts a vast area. The protection of the environment is vital for Sustainable Human Development. Relevant factors of environment include food, waster, energy, natural resources, toxic substances etc. Energy is one of the most important factors of environment. Energy Management is critical to our future economic prosperity and environmental well being. Energy is essential for the functioning of most of the industrialized world as well as developing and under developed nations. Yet at the same time energy production and consumption causes degradation of the environment of the industrialized world and it seems that developing countries are also facing the similar kind of problem. Energy management is one of the most critical issues for the future as so much of the world is dependent upon it. Thus we need to understand the traditional sources of energy, their quality, availability and environmental effects, as well as the potential alternatives for energy and the effects of these upon the natural environment and modern industrial economies. Over the past two hundred years the use of primary energy sources in manufacturing or processing has evolved from simply using locally available resources, such as waterpower, firewood or coal. The transition from coal to a petroleum-based fuel economy took place through the twentieth century. With changes to the oil market in 2000 catching media attention around the world, there is further interest in the ongoing transition to renewable energy sources. Managing energy is now a basic feature in the global economy and environment. Fossil fuels in the form of oil, natural gas and coal comprise approximately 80% of the world's energy use. We now face a world where the environmental impacts of combusting fossil fuels such as coal and oil are identified as unsustainable in the long term. The need to turn to increasing use of sustainable and renewable energy sources is clearly agreed.
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