Overview of India’s biodiversity and Climate goals
15 Mar, 2023
The term “biodiversity” means the variety of life on Earth, including the diversity of species and the diversity of ecosystems. Biodiversity and climate goals refer to protecting and managing the variety of living organisms that make up the natural world, including plants, animals, and microorganisms. Biodiversity conservation is essential because it helps to maintain the health and functioning of ecosystems, which provide critical services such as air and water purification, climate regulation, and food production. Conservation efforts may also involve education and outreach to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the need to protect it. The effects of climate change on biodiversity in India are complex and multifaceted, with significant implications for the ecological and social systems that depend on them. In this write up, we will understand why biodiversity preservation is important for India’s economic development and its inclusion in the country’s climate goals.
Objectives of Biodiversity and Climate goals
The main objectives of Biodiversity and climate goals:
- Preservation of Species: One of the primary objectives of biodiversity conservation is preserving the various species in the natural world. This includes protecting endangered species from extinction and ensuring their habitats remain intact.
- Protection of Ecosystems: Biodiversity conservation aims to protect and preserve the various ecosystems on the planet. This includes maintaining the balance between different plant and animal species within an ecosystem and ensuring that the natural processes within an ecosystem are not disrupted.
- Sustainable Use: Another objective of biodiversity conservation is to ensure that the natural resources derived from ecosystems are used sustainably. This means using natural resources that do not deplete them or cause long-term environmental harm.
- Ecological Restoration: Biodiversity conservation aims to restore degraded ecosystems to their natural state. This involves rehabilitating areas impacted by human activities such as mining, deforestation, and pollution.
- Education and Awareness: Biodiversity conservation seeks to raise awareness in the general public about the importance of preserving biodiversity. Education and awareness programs aim to inform people about the value of ecosystems and the impact that human activities can have on them.
Overall, biodiversity conservation aims to ensure that the natural world is protected and preserved for future generations.
Importance of Environmental Compliance for Biodiversity and climate goals
Environmental compliance is a critical component because it ensures that conservation activities are carried out in a manner that protects and preserves the environment. Some of the key areas of environmental compliance are:
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): It is an essential tool for identifying and assessing the potential impacts of wildlife conservation activities on the environment, including habitats, water resources, and wildlife populations.
- Permits and Regulations: There are various permits and regulations that must be followed for wildlife conservation planning to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
- Monitoring and Reporting: Monitoring allows conservationists to track the effectiveness of conservation activities and ensure that they are achieving their goals without causing harm to the environment. Reporting requirements ensure the public is informed about conservation activities and their environmental impact.
Relation between Biodiversity and climate goals of India
Biodiversity and climate goals in India are outlined in the National Biodiversity Act of 2002 and the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) of 2008. Some of the critical goals of biodiversity conservation in India include:
- Conservation and Sustainable Use: The main goal of biodiversity conservation in India is to conserve and sustainably use the country’s biological diversity. This involves protecting ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.
- Equity and Benefit-Sharing: The NBAP emphasizes the need for equitable sharing of the benefits arising from using biological resources. This includes sharing benefits with local communities who are the custodians of traditional knowledge related to biodiversity.
- Conservation of Critical Ecosystems: The NBAP identifies several critical ecosystems in India that require urgent conservation measures. These include wetlands, coral reefs, mangroves, and high-altitude ecosystems.
- Strengthening Institutional Mechanisms: Another goal of biodiversity conservation in India is to strengthen the institutional mechanisms that are involved in conservation efforts. This includes improving the capacity of government agencies, civil society organizations, and local communities to manage and conserve biodiversity.
- Research, Monitoring, and Information Management: The NBAP emphasizes the importance of research, monitoring, and information management in biodiversity conservation. This includes developing and implementing comprehensive monitoring programs to assess biodiversity status in India and track changes over time.
Effect of climate change on the Biodiversity of India
Climate change significantly impacts Biodiversity in India, affecting the distribution, abundance, and behaviour of various species. Here are some of the effects of climate change on Biodiversity in India:
- Changes in Species Distribution: With rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, many species are shifting their geographic ranges to adapt to changing conditions. For example, some bird species move to higher elevations to escape the heat, while others move to cooler habitats.
- Changes in Climate: Climate change also affects the timing of seasonal events such as breeding, migration, and flowering. For example, some migratory bird species arrive earlier in the spring, while some plants flower earlier in the season.
- Habitat Loss: As temperatures rise, some species may no longer be able to survive in their current habitats, leading to habitat loss and range contractions. This is particularly true for species adapted to specific temperature and rainfall conditions.
- Increased Biodiversity Extinction Risk: Climate change is exacerbating existing threats to biodiversity and climate goals of the country, such as habitat destruction and fragmentation, and increasing the risk of extinction for many species. For example, several amphibian species in the Western Ghats are at risk of extinction due to climate change.
- Altered Ecosystem Services: Climate change can also affect the provision of ecosystem services, such as water availability, pollination, and pest control. This can have far-reaching consequences for human communities that depend on these services for their livelihoods.
Relationship between Biodiversity and Climate goals
Biodiversity and climate change are closely interlinked, and changes in one can significantly impact the other. Here are some ways in which biodiversity and climate change are related:
- Biodiversity is crucial in mitigating climate change: Forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems are important carbon sinks, absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Biodiverse ecosystems are more resilient and can hold more carbon than those with lower levels of biodiversity.
- Climate change threatens Biodiversity: Climate change is one of the significant drivers of biodiversity loss. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can lead to the loss of habitat and range contractions for many species. As a result, many species are at risk of extinction due to climate change.
- Biodiversity helps ecosystems adapt to climate change: Biodiverse ecosystems are more resilient to changes in temperature and rainfall, making them better able to adapt to the impacts of climate change. A diverse range of species can help maintain ecosystem functions and services that are important for human well-being.
- Loss of Biodiversity can exacerbate climate change: Loss of Biodiversity can lead to ecosystem degradation, which in turn can release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change.
- Conservation of Biodiversity can help mitigate climate change: Conservation of Biodiversity can contribute to climate change mitigation by preserving carbon sinks and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. Protecting ecosystems and promoting sustainable land use practices can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
India has set ambitious biodiversity and climate goals, recognizing the crucial interdependence between the two. We have one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions, with a rich variety of ecosystems and species that provide essential ecosystem services and support the livelihoods of millions of people. India must continue to prioritize and invest in biodiversity conservation and climate action while ensuring that these efforts are equitable, inclusive, and sustainable. It is recommended that a person looking for Environmental Clearance and approval should seek expert advice or consultation to get a hassle-free experience in the extensive process.
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