Conservation on Biological Diversity

About –

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a legally blinding multilateral environment agreement.
  • Three objectives of CBD
  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Sustainable use of biodiversity
  • Fair and equitable share of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Formation –

  • CBD was an outcome of Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5th June 1992.
  • CBD came into force on 29 December 1993.
  • Secretariat: CBD secretariat, Montreal, Canada.
  • under the aegis of United Environment Programme(UNEP)

Organization –

  • At present CBD has 194 parties and 168 signatories including India.
  • Governing body: Conference of the parties (COP)
  • first meetings have took place till 2012
  • 2012 COP conference was held in India
  • Subsidiary bodies –
  • Subsidiary body for scientific Technical and Technological Advice(SBSTTA)

CBD AT national level –

  • CBD provides sovereign rights over their biological resources.
  • CBD recognizes the close and traditional dependence of indigenous and local communities on biological resources.
  • CBD ensures that these communities share the benefits arising from the use of their traditional knowledge and conservation practices.

Facts –

  • CBD also aims to prevent the spread of ecologically harmful invasive species.
  • United States has signed but didn’t ratify the convention
  • Citing the demand technology transfer to developing countries.

CBD Protocols

Cartagena Protocol –

“Cartagena Protocol on bio safety to the Convention on Biological Diversity”

  • Background –
  • Protocol on bio safety is to establish rules and procedures for safe transfer, handling and use off LMOs, with specific focus on trans boundary movements.
  • Cartagena is a city in Colombia where the Bio safety protocol was originally scheduled to adopt in February 1999.
  • But the protocol was adopted later on 29 January 2000 in Montreal, Canada.
  • Concepts –
  • Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) –

Any living organism that modified combinations of genetic obtained through modern biotechnology.

LMOs are living genetically modified organisms.

  • Components –
  1. Advance Informed Agreement procedure
  • Countries exporting the LMOs should inform the importing countries the LMOs before exporting.
  • Ensures that importing countries have the opportunities and capacity to assess the risks associated with LMOs before importing them.
  1. Bio safety clearing House(BCH) –
  • To facilities the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on LMOs
  • To clear or ban the import of LMOs


  • LMOs that are pharmaceuticals for humans are excluded from protocol, if they are covered by other international agreements.

Nagoya Protocol –

  • It is supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The Nagoya Protocol will create greater legal certainly and transparency for both provides and users of genetic resources.
  • Background –
  • Genetic resources from plants, animals and microorganisms are increasingly valuable in the development enzymes, enhanced genes, or small molecules.
  • Finding a practical way to share these benefits has been of particular concern to biodiversity-rich developing countries.
  • Adoption –
  • 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan
  • Entered into force on 12 October 2014
  • Objective: Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
  • Functions –
  • Establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources.
  • Helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the country providing the genetic resources.
  • Benefits –
  • The protocol establishes a legally-blinding frame-work that helps researches access genetic re-sources for biotechnology research, development and other activities, in return for a fair of any benefits from their use.
  • Indigenous and local communities may receive benefits through a legal framework that respects the value of traditional knowledge association with genetic resources.
  • The Nagoya Protocol applies to –
  • genetic resources that are covered by the CBD
  • benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources
  • traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources that are covered by the CBD
  • benefits arising from the utilization of traditional knowledge
  • The Protocol does not apply to –
  • Human genetic material, or to resources that were acquired before the Protocol comes into effect.
  • genetic resources covered by specialised access and benefit-sharing agreements such as
  • Aichi Biodiversity Targets – Strategic goals
  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.
  • Target 6: By 2022 al fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably.
  • Target 7: By 2022 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.
  • Target 9: By 2022, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated.
  • Target 10: By 2012, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change.
  • Target 11: By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water and 10% of coastal and marine areas are conserved.
  • Target 12: By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented.
  • Target 13: By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed domestic animals and of relatives is maintained.
  • Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stock have been enhanced, through conservation.
  • Target 16: By 2015, the Nagoya Protocol is in force and operational, consistent with national legislation.
  • Target 18: By 2020, the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities and their customary use.

Biosphere Reserves

IUCN Category V Protected areas

About –

  • Biosphere Reserves is an area set aside for the conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the relationship between man and the environment.
  • Biosphere reserves is proposed by its residents, ratified by a national committee, and designated by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere program.
  • Biosphere reserves protect larger areas of natural habitat, and often include one or more national parks/or preserves, along buffers zones that are open to limited economic activities.
  • Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life.

Functions –

  • To contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.
  • To foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable
  • To provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local and global issues of conservation and development.

Zones of Biosphere Reserve –

  • Core Zones –
  • Strictly protected ecosystem
  • Managed for minimum human interference, to serve as a baseline for the biological region
  • Research, education and training activities are carefully controlled
  • Traditional activities such as timber production, hunting, fishing and grazing are not permitted
  • Buffer Zone –
  • Managed for research, education and training activities and manipulative methods and techniques are permitted
  • Limited traditional activities including timber production, hunting fishing and grazing are permitted
  • Transition Zone –
  • Also called as Area of Cooperation
  • The large outer area of reserve where people live and work, using the natural resources of the area in a sustainable manner
  • Local communities, management agencies, scientists, NGOs cultural groups and other stakeholders can work together.

­MAB Programme –

  • The programme of Biosphere Reserve was initiated under the Man & Biosphere (MAB) programme by UNESCO in 1971.
  • World Network of biosphere reserves of the MAB Programme fosters the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development
  • To date, 651 biosphere reserves in 120 countries, including 15 trans boundary sites, have been included in the World Network of biosphere reserves
  • They are internationally recognized, nominated by National Governments and remain under sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located
  • The secretarial of the MAB Programme is located with UNESCO Headquarters Paris.
  • Biosphere Reserves serve in some ways as living laboratories for testing out and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity

Biosphere Reserves in India –

  • There are 18 biosphere reserves in India.
  • Nine of the eighteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
  • First biosphere reserves in India to be notified was Nilgiri biosphere reserve


Modes of Conservation

  1. In-situ Conservation –
  • Onsite conservation or the conservation of genetic resources in natural populations of plant or animal species.
  • It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat.
  • In-situ conservation is being done by declaring an area as protected area.
  • In-situ locations –
  1. Protected areas
  2. National parks
  3. Sanctuaries
  • Biosphere reserves
  1. Sacred forests
  • It is also applied to conservation of agricultural biodiversity in agro forestry by farmers.
  1. Ex-situ conservation –
  • Ex-situ also conservation is the preservation of components biodiversity in agro forestry by farmers.
  • This involves conservation of genetic resources, as well as wild and cultivated or species.
  • It requires a wide range of techniques and facilities
  • Ex-situ locations –
  1. seed banks
  2. Captive breeding locations
  3. Animal translocations
  4. Tissue culture banks
  5. Botanical gardens
  6. Zoological gardens

Biodiversity Hotspots

Concept –

  • A biodiversity hotspot is a bio-geographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat from humans.
  • The concept of hot spots was developed by Norman Myers in 1988 to designate priority areas for in situ conservation.

Criterion for hotspots –

  1. Endemism: The area should support more than 1500 endemic species of vascular plants.
  2. Habitat loss: It must have lost over 70% of the original habitat.

Hotspots in India –

India is represented with 4 biodiversity hotspots

  1. Western ghats –
  • The Western Ghats are a chain of hills that run along the western edge of peninsular India over the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • These regions have moist deciduous forest and rain forest.
  • There are over 6000 vascular plants belonging to over 2500 genera in these hotspots, of which over 3000 are endemic.
  • Nearly 77% of the amphibians and 62% of the reptile species found here are found nowhere else.
  • Much of the world’s species such as black pepper and cardamom have their origins in the Western ghats.
  • The highest concentration of species in the Western Ghats is believed to be the Agasthyamalai iHiHhiHhhhhhHills in the extreme south.
  1. Eastern Himalayas –
  • The eastern Himalayas is the region encompassing Bhutan, North Eastern India, and Southern, central, and eastern Nepal.
  • There are an estimated 10,000 species of plants in the Himalayas, of which one-third are endemic
  • The Eastern Himalayas hotspot has nearly 163 globally threatened species
  • The only endemic genus in the hotspot is the Namadapha flying squirrel which is critically endangered.
  • Major threatened species include –
  • One-horned Rhinoceros
  • Wild Asian Water buffalo
  • Relict Dragonfly
  • Himalayan Newt, the only salamander species found within Indian limits.
  • Major threatened endemic bird species include –
  • Himalayan quail
  • Cheer pheasant
  • Western tragopan
  • Himalayan vulture
  • White-bellied heron
  • Himalayas are home to 300 species of mammals, a dozen of which are endemic.
  1. Indo-Burma region
  • Indo-Burma region encompasses several countries from Eastern Bangladesh to Malaysia.
  • It includes
  • North-Eastern India south of Brahmaputra river
  • Myanmar, the southern part of China’s Yamuna province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.
  • This region is home to several primate species such as monkeys, languor and gibbons with populations numbering only in the hundreds.
  • Many of the species, especially some freshwater turtle species, are endemic
  • Almost 1,300 bird species exist in this region including the threatened whit-earned night-heron, the grey-crowned crocias, and the orange-necked partridge.
  • It is estimated that there are about 13,500 plant species in this hotspot, with over half of them endemic. Ginger, for example, is native to this region.
  1. Sundaland –

Sundaland is a region in South-East Asia that covers the western part of the Indo-Malayan archipelago

  • It includes Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, India and Indonesia.
  • India is represented by the Nicobar Islands
  • United Nations declared the islands a World Biosphere Reserve in 2013.
  • The islands have a rich terrestrial and marine ecosystem that includes mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass beds.
  • The marine biodiversity includes several species such as whales, dolphins, dugong, turtles, crocodiles, fishes, prawns, lobsters, corals and sea shells.
  • Threats – over exploitation of marine resources and forests.

Critical Wildlife Habitats

About –

Critical Wildlife Habitats are the areas of national parks and sanctuaries kept as inviolate for the purposes of wildlife conservation.

  • It has been envisaged in Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers Act 2006.
  • But the same act duly recognizes the traditional rights of the forest dwellers.
  • Critical Wildlife Habitats are designated by central government through MoEF

Facts –

Before a critical wildlife area is notified, scientific evidence has to be provided to establish that people’s presence would adversely in impact the wildlife in area.

  • Prior consent of the concerned gram sabha is required to create the critical wildlife habitats.
  • Consent of the Gram Sabha must be obtained before any relocation of the forest dwellers is carried out.


Basics –

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(1975)
  • CITIES ensures that international trade of wild animals and plants does not threatened their survival.
  • Also known as Washington convention

Formation –

  • CITIES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN.
  • CITIES entered into force on 1 July 1975.
  • CITIES is an international agreement to which States adhere voluntarily.
  • The CITIES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.

Trade in Wildlife –

  • International wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
  • The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them.
  • Wildlife products include –
  • Food products
  • Exotic leather goods.
  • wooden musical instruments
  • timber
  • tourist curious
  • medicines
  • High levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species for trade has led to decrease and even extinction of certain species.

Rules –

  • Trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, hence, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation.
  • CITIES protects more than 35,00 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
  • CITIES controls only the international movement of the species.

Process –

CITEIS works by subjecting international trade in specimen of selected species to certain controls.

  • The species covered by CITIES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.
  • Appendices –
  • Appendix I

Includes species threatened with extinction

Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

  • Appendix II –

Includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction.

But includes species in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.

  • Appendix III –
  • Includes species that are protected in at one country, which has asked other CITIES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.
  • If a species is in danger of extinction then the treaty will impose a ban on the commercial trade of the listed species.