Ecosystem diversity

Spread the love

Ecosystem diversity


Ecosystem is a complex of life forms (including plants, animals and micro-organisms) interacting with each other and

With non-living elements like soil, water, air, minerals etc. This diversity of ecological complexity reflects the diversity in ecological niches, trophic structure, food-webs, nutrient cycling, etc. Ecosystem diversity. Ecosystems also show variation with respect to physical parameters like moisture, temperature, altitude, rainfall etc.

Distribution of species in major groups of flora and fauna in India

plant animal

bacteria 850 lower group 9979

Fungi 23,000 Mollusca 5042

Algae 2500 Arthropods 57,525

Bryophytes 2564 Pisces (fishes) 2546

pteridophytes 1022 reptiles 428

gymnosperms 64 birds 1228

Angiosperms 15,000 Amphibians 204

mammals 372


Why is ecosystem diversity important?

The diversity of the ecosystem is of great importance and has to be kept intact. The diversity we see today has developed over millions of years of evolution. Biodiversity is important and necessary to maintain ecological balance. If we destroy this diversity, it will disturb this balance. If diversity is lost in one ecosystem then we cannot replace the diversity of one ecosystem with the diversity of another ie coniferous trees of boreal forests do not function as trees of tropical deciduous forests and vice versa. This is because the diversity of ecosystems has evolved in relation to prevailing environmental conditions with well-regulated ecological balance.




The species which are confined to a particular region only are called endemic. India shows a good number of endemic species. About 62% of amphibians and 50% of lizards are endemic to India. The Western Ghats are the sites of maximum endemism.

India has two biodiversity hot spots and thus a large number of endemic species. Out of about 47,000 species of plants in our country, 7000 are endemic. The Indian subcontinent has about 62% endemic vegetation, mainly confined to the Himalayas, the Khasi Hills and the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats are particularly rich in amphibians (frogs, toads).




  1. b) and reptiles (lizards, crocodiles etc.). About 62% of the amphibians and 50% of the lizards are endemic to the Western Ghats. Monitor lizard (Varanus), reticulated python and various species of Indian salamander and viviparous toad nectophryne are some of the important endemic species of our country.



Biodiversity Hot Spots

Areas that exhibit high species richness as well as high species endemism are called biodiversity hot spots (Myers, 1977). Globally there were 25 such biodiversity hot spots (now increased to 34) of which two are present in India, namely the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats. About 50% of terrestrial biodiversity is found in these hotspots, covering less than 2% of the world’s land area. Each hotspot has at least 0.5% of its plant species as endemic. About 40% of terrestrial plant and 25% of vertebrate species are endemic and occur in these hotspots.



marine diversity

Mangroves, estuaries, coral reefs, backwaters, etc. are rich in biodiversity along the 7500 km long coastline of our country. More than 340 species of corals of the world are found here. Marine diversity is rich in molluscs, crustaceans (crabs etc.), polychaetes and corals. Many species of mangrove plants and sea grasses are also found in our country.



value of biodiversity

Several uses of biodiversity or biodiversity value have been classified by McNeely et al. (1990) as follows:

  1. a) consumable use value
  2. b) productive use value
  3. c) social value
  4. d) moral values
  5. e) aesthetic value
  6. f) option value


  1. g) monetary value
  2. h) Ecosystem Service Value
  3. a) consumable use value

These are those with direct use value where the biodiversity product can be harvested and consumed directly e.g. Biodiversity is important for agriculture, fuel, food, medicines, fibre, etc. About 80,000 edible plant species have been reported from the wild. About 90 percent of present-day food crops have been grown from wild tropical plants. Fossil fuels coal, petroleum and natural gas are also products of fossil biodiversity. About 80% of the world’s population in developing countries relies on traditional medicines derived from plants or plant extracts and some animal and mineral resources for primary health care. The wonder drug penicillin used as an antibiotic is obtained from a fungus called Penicillium. We get tetracycline from bacteria. The malarial drug quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree, digitalin from foxglove (digitalis), an effective treatment for heart ailments, aspirin from the plant Filipendula ulmaria.

  1. b) productive use value

These are commercially usable values where the product is marketed and sold. This can include timber, wild gene resources that can be used by scientists to introduce desirable traits into crops and domesticated animals. These can include animal products such as tusks from elephants, musk from musk deer, silk from silk-worm, wool from sheep, cedar of many.


Animals, lakhs of insects etc., which are traded in the market. Many industries depend on the productive use values of biodiversity, e.g. Paper and pulp industry, plywood industry, railway sleeper industry, silk industry, textile industry, ivory work, leather industry, pearl industry etc.

  1. c) social value

These are the values associated with the social life, customs, religion and psycho-spiritual aspects of the people. Many plants like Tulsi (Holy Basil), Peepal, Mango, Lotus, Bael, etc are considered holy and sacred in our country. The tribal people are very closely associated with the wild life in the forests. Their social life, songs, dances and rituals are intertwined around wildlife. Many animals like cow, snake, bull, peacock, owl etc. also have an important place in our psycho-spiritual sphere and thus have special social significance. Thus biodiversity has a specific social value, which is associated with different societies.

  1. d) Moral Values (Existential Values)

Every species is important and has a right to exist. Man has no right to exterminate any species. This includes ethical issues such as “all life must be protected”. It is based on the concept of “live and let live”. If we want our human race to survive, we must protect all biodiversity, because biodiversity is valuable. Moral value means that we may or may not use a species, but knowing the fact that this species exists in nature gives us pleasure.

  1. e) aesthetic value

Great aesthetic value is attached to biodiversity. None of us would want to travel through vast stretches of wasteland with no visible signs of 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-tourism. The concept of “willingness to pay” on such eco-tourism also gives us a monetary value for the aesthetic value of biodiversity. Ecotourism is estimated to generate about $12 billion in revenue annually largely given the aesthetic value of biodiversity.

  1. f) option value

These values reflect the potential of biodiversity.

which is currently unknown and needs to be explored. There is a possibility that we may have some potential cure for AIDS or cancer lying within the depths of a marine ecosystem, or a tropical rainforest.

  1. g) Monetary value of biodiversity

Every species on this earth has some value in terms of aesthetics or other ecosystem services they provide, when converted to monetary terms. Examples of these are given below:

  • A male lion that survives to the age of 7 can earn up to $515,000 due to its aesthetic value paid by tourists, while a lion killed for its skin can fetch a market value of up to $1,000.




  • A Kenyan elephant can generate $1 million in tourist revenue in its lifetime.
  • Mountain gorillas in Rwanda are earning $4 million a year through eco-tourism.
  • Whale watching at Harvey Bay off the coast of Queensland brings in $12 million annually.
  • Tourism to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia earns $2 billion every year.
  • A typical tree provides $196,2150 worth of ecological services in the form of oxygen, clean air, fertile soil, erosion control, water recycling, wildlife habitat, toxic gas moderation, etc. Timber.
  1. h) Ecosystem Service Value

Recently, a non-consumptive use value related to ecosystem self-maintenance and various important ecosystem services has been recognized which refers to ecosystem services:

  • Prevention of soil erosion
  • flood prevention
  • Maintenance of soil fertility
  • cycling of nutrients
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Water Cycle
  • Their role as a carbon sink
  • pollutant absorption, and
  • Reducing the menace of global warming etc.







some endangered animals of india

Reptiles alligator, green sea turtle, tortoise, python

Birds Great Indian Bustard, Peacock, Pelican, Great Indian Hornbill, Siberian White Crane

carnivorous Indian wolf, red fox, sloth bear, red panda, tiger, striped, hyena, Indian lion

Mammals Golden Cat, Desert Cat, Dugong

Primates Hoolock Gibbon, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Capped Monkey, Golden Monkey



impact on biodiversity


The growth of human population is a major factor affecting the environment. Overpopulation means that there are more people than there are resources to meet their needs. Almost all of the environmental problems we face today can be traced back to the increase in world population. The human population is 7 billion; With an annual global growth rate of about 1.14%, three more people are being added to the earth every second.



The world is experiencing an increase in the annual economic growth rate. Affluence is a problem because with increasing affluence comes an increase in per capita resource use. Less than 20% of the world’s population control 80% of the world’s wealth


105d Resources. Higher standard of living with increase in production and consumption of goods is the main cause of pollution and environmental degradation (EO Wilson, 1994).

There is no single reason for the degradation of natural ecosystems. The effects of overpopulation and overconsumption are felt not only locally or nationally, but also globally.



Pollution generated in one area can affect the air, water, vegetation or animals in another area. The impact of global CO2 changes, biodiversity loss and marine pollution do not respect political boundaries and ultimately affect everyone in the world.










The problem with biological resource extraction occurs when the rate of increase in demand for resources far exceeds the rate of reproduction of the population. Demand for a resource exceeds supply and the price of that resource increases, increasing the incentive to extract them, and the population eventually dies out. Whales, elephants, spotted cats, cod, old-growth forests, ginseng, parrots, tuna and passenger pigeons, to name a few, have suffered misfortune.

The main problem in the extraction of volatile biological resources is the increasing demand for the resource and the short-term profit goals of the extracters.




habitat destruction

Habitat loss or fragmentation refers to disturbance of the physical environment in which a species lives that can range from minor to severe. In other words habitat fragmentation is the loss and subdivision of one habitat and the corresponding increase in other habitats in the landscape. Minor changes, such as mild chemical changes from air pollution, affect only susceptible species. However, extreme physical changes can eliminate many species from the area.

Biologically diverse natural systems and the services they provide are often undervalued in monetary terms and, as a result, are used for development activities that have a far more direct economic impact. Large-scale industrial and developmental projects have contributed to habitat fragmentation and in turn to the loss of substantial biodiversity-rich areas. Habitat conversion is the greatest threat to biodiversity, as almost all human activities

Causes changes in the natural environment to a greater or lesser degree. Habitat fragmentation not only affects species, but also the processes that drive biodiversity. Habitat fragmentation causes large populations to split into smaller populations that may be isolated from each other. These sub-populations may be too small to be viable or, if local extinction of the species occurs, fragmentation cuts off the ability to regenerate as there are no intact populations nearby.

Poor agricultural practices also degrade soil quality and promote the loss of topsoil. In addition, agriculture has resulted in local reduction and extinction of organisms associated with agricultural land (such as grassland and shrubland birds, wild pollinating insects).



over exploitation

After habitat loss, over-harvesting has had the greatest impact on biodiversity. In fact, overharvesting and habitat loss often occur together, as the removal of an organism from its environment can have irreversible effects on the environment itself.

Humans have historically exploited plant and animal species to maximize short-term profit at the expense of species or population stability. Many species such as tigers and elephants are killed or hunted for their skin, teeth, claws, etc., which have high commercial value. This exploitation initially follows a predictable pattern, a species harvested from the wild can generate substantial profits, encouraging more people to become involved in its extraction. This increased competition encourages the development of more large-scale and efficient methods of extraction, which inevitably deplete the resource. Eventually, quota systems are implemented, leading to more competition, loss of income, and the need for government subsidies to support the extractive industry. This sequence of events has been observed in the fishing industry, the logging industry, and the grazing of animals.



Cattle on public lands impacted by rapidly expanding pharmaceutical industry

The consequences for the population resource of medicinal plants are always the same: overpopulation leads to crashes, sometimes ending in global extinction.

5.8.5 Secondary deletion

Secondary deletion occurs when deletion of one group causes deletion of another. This often involves the loss of edible species. The familiar panda bear of China subsists largely on bamboo. As bamboo is destroyed, the panda may become extinct for that reason alone.

  introduction of exotic species

The introduction of alien species (also known as non-native, exotic species) to natural habitats, intentionally or accidentally, has been a major problem.

Eat for biodiversity around the world. Sometimes introduced species have higher growth rates, higher competitiveness, and higher reproductive rates, which can result in the extinction of indigenous species.



The introduction of a predator, which the organism has not previously been exposed to, can profoundly affect the food chains of the region.



Exotic species can often compete with native species for food and habitat acquisition, mainly because they have no local controls (disease and predators) to keep their populations in check.



Geographical barriers help maintain genetically diverse populations of organisms. The introduction of non-native species, whether intentional or not, results in the inbreeding of native and non-native species resulting in the decline of native species.


diseases and parasites

Insect species accidentally introduced to an area provide one of the most dramatic examples of the damage that exotic species can do to native species. For example, an exotic beetle was the vector for Dutch elm disease, which has devastated elm trees in North America.


  homogenization of ecosystems

All of the above effects combine to reduce the number of native species in a habitat and replace them with weeds and thus cause regional homogeneity of ecosystems.



Species introduction can occur accidentally, when organisms “hitchhike” into new systems.

on other animals or objects. Inadvertent introduction of the species can also occur due to lack of education of the general public. For example, releasing aquarium fish or using exotic ornamental garden plants whose seeds survive in natural systems can increase the likelihood of an alien species becoming established in our native ecosystem.






Contamination involves the addition of materials that are not normally present or are present in very different amounts. Soil, water and air pollution affect ecosystem functioning and can remove or eliminate important sensitive species.

Toxic discharges that include metals, organic chemicals, and suspended sediments are commonly found in industrial and municipal effluents that are released directly into water bodies. Toxic discharges can harm the biota (living organisms) in an ecosystem by killing them, weakening them, or their ability to carry out essential biological functions (feeding, reproduction, etc.).

can influence opinion. Numerous studies have shown that pesticide pollution has a great impact on the populations of specific plant and animal species.

A major concern is the build-up of nutrients in the form of phosphorus and nitrogen, which often originate in runoff water from the use of fertilizers in agricultural fields. These nutrients, naturally present in very small amounts, encourage the rapid growth of algae and aquatic plants, ultimately limiting the amount of oxygen and light available to other organisms in the ecosystem.



global climate change

Many investigations predict global climate change in the coming times. Human-caused increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are expected to increase global temperatures by 1 degree to 3 degrees Celsius over the next century. It is believed that a 1 degree increase in global temperature would shift the tolerance range of land species about 125 km towards the poles, or 150 m vertically over mountains. These sudden changes may be beyond the tolerance limits of many species and it is likely that we may lose them forever. In addition, sea level rise associated with global warming will submerge low-lying coastal areas, threatening coastal flora and fauna.




The global movement of goods has increased over the past few decades due to the proliferation of international trade treaties. While globalization itself is not directly harmful to the environment, some aspects of increased transportation, especially sea shipping

Traffic has put pressure on natural systems by facilitating the migration of species

new habitats, introducing pollutants into aquatic ecosystems, and altering and destroying coastal habitats.

One of the biggest effects of globalization has been the introduction of foreign species into native habitats. This has occurred most frequently through the release of ballast water from ships. Ships carry water in their ballast from their point of origin for stabilization as they cross the oceans and discard it when they arrive at their port of destination. This ballast water may contain many plants and animals that are native to other areas of the world. An increase in shipping traffic also means an increased potential for accidental spills of substances that pose a risk to aquatic wildlife, such as crude oil and an increasing amount of fuel to aquatic ecosystems.



  biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity can be protected in two ways-

  1. In-situ
  2. Ex-situ

1.) In situ conservation (within the habitat)

this is the way to protect

by protection. About,

4.83 per cent of the country’s total geographical area has been earmarked for comprehensive conservation of habitats and ecosystems through a protected area network of 99 national parks and 523 wildlife sanctuaries. The results of this network have been instrumental in restoring viable populations of large mammals such as tigers, lions, rhinos, crocodiles and elephants. Biosphere reserve program is being implemented for the protection of representative ecosystems. In total, 15 biodiversity-rich areas of the country have been designated as Biosphere Reserves. Programs have also been initiated for scientific management and wise use of fragile ecosystems. Specific programs are being implemented for the management and conservation of wetlands, mangrove and coral reef systems.

2) Ex-situ protection (outside the residence)

This method of conservation includes setting up of gene banks, seed banks, zoos, botanical gardens, culture collections, etc. Ex-situ conservation measures have also been addressed as they are complementary to the in-situ conservation measures and are otherwise important. There are around 70 botanic gardens including 33 university botanic gardens. In addition, there are 275 centers of ex-situ wildlife conservation in the form of zoos, deer parks.



Safari Park, Aquarium etc. A Central Zoo Authority supports, oversees, monitors and

Coordinates the development and management of zoos in the country.



Global Initiative:

Five international conventions focus on biodiversity issues such as conservation:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity,
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species,
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and
  • World Heritage Convention.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by the Community and all Member States at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. There has been a substantial loss of biological diversity over several decades. Worldwide and in Europe due to human activities (pollution, deforestation, etc.). The convention focuses not only on conservation of biodiversity but also on sustainable use of biological resources and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of its use.

The Convention provides for the following:

  • To establish and maintain programs for scientific and technical education and training for the identification, conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and its components and to coordinate such education and training for the specific needs of developing countries;

providing income;

  • Promotion of research contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, particularly in developing countries;
  • To promote the use of scientific advances in biological diversity research in developing methods for the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.

Public education should be promoted and awareness raised to highlight the importance of biological diversity through the media and to include these topics in educational programs.

The Convention emphasizes the role of indigenous and local communities in conservation

Biodiversity. These populations depend heavily and traditionally on the biological resources on which their traditions are based.

convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the entry into force of the Convention, its membership has grown rapidly to include over 100 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The Convention was signed in Bonn (hence the name) in 1979 and entered into force in 1983.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES):

This convention is an international treaty designed to protect wild plants and animals affected by international trade. The treaty has been in force since 1975 and regulates the export, import and re-export of endangered and threatened wildlife. The convention currently provides varying degrees of protection to over 30,000 species of animals and plants that are being traded as live specimens, for fur coats, or even as dried herbs. .

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands:

This convention was signed in Ramsar (Iran) in 1971, and came into force in December 1975. It provides a framework for international cooperation.

To conserve wetland habitats that have been designated on the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Originally the main focus of this convention on the conservation of wetland habitats, it now covers all aspects of the conservation and judicious use of wetlands. India became a signatory to this convention in 1982. There are sites that have been designated as Ramsar sites.

World Heritage Convention:

The convention is also dedicated to the protection of world culture and heritage, which aims to protect sites of such outstanding value that their conservation is a matter of concern for all people. This treaty was adopted in Paris in 1972 and came into force in 1075. There are a total of 23 designated World Heritage Sites in India, of which five are natural sites. These are Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan), Manas National Park (Assam), Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Sundarbans (West Bengal) and Nanda Devi National Park (Uttarakhand).







This course is very important for Basics GS for IAS /PCS and competitive exams



*Group c*

*Forest guard*



*Complete General Studies Practice in Two weeks*


**General science* *and* *Computer*

*Must enrol in this free* *online course* xxx76D77B987A


**English Beginners* *Course for 10 days*




समाजशास्त्र का परिचय






Beginners Urdu Learning Course in 2Weeks


Hindi Beginners Learning in One week


Free Sanskrit Language Tutorial

Follow this link to join my WhatsApp group:

Join Teligram group

Join What app group for IAS PCS

Join Facebook

Instagram link

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.