About –

Convention on the “Conservation of Migratory Species” of Wild Animal

  • CMS an environmental under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.

Organization –

  • CMS came into force in 1983.
  • CMS secretariat is located in Bonn, Germany.
  • The CMS secretariat is provided and administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Migratory Animals –

  • Migratory animals are essential components of the ecosystems that support all life on Earth.
  • By acting as pollinators and seed distributors they contribute to ecosystem structure and function
  • They provide food for other animals and regulate the number of species in ecosystems.
  • Migratory animals are potentially very effective indicators of environmental changes that affect us all.

Threats to Migratory Species –

  • Unsustainable hunting and fishing practices
  • Incidental capture in fisheries takes a heavy toll on thousands of species.
  • Habitat loss and degradation –
  • Destruction of wetlands, forests and grasslands removes food and shelter vital to life.
  • The introduction of alien species and harmful effects of industrial and agricultural pollutants are further risks.
  • Barriers to migration –
  • roads, fences, dams , power lines and wind farms
  • Disrupt migratory patterns and result in a significant number of deaths.

Process –

  • CMS brings together the States and internationally coordinates the conservation measures for migratory animals.
  • The agreements may range from legally binding treaties to less formal instruments, such as Memoranda of Understanding.
  • Appendix I-
  • Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention.
  • CMS Parties

Protect these animals

Conserve or restore the places where they live

Mitigate the obstacles to migration

Control other factors that might endanger them

  • Appendix II –
  • Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention.


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

About –

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List)
  • Founded in 1964, it is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.
  • IUCN is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species.
  • A series of Regional Red List are produced by countries or organizations.
  • The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies.

Classification –

  • Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups.
  • Criteria includes rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.
  • Nine groups –
  1. Extinct (Ex) – No known individuals remaining
  2. Extinct in the wild – known only to survive in capacity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  3. Critically endangered – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  4. Endangered – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  5. Vulnerable – High risk of endangered in the wild.
  6. Near threatened – Likely to become endangered in the near future.
  7. Least concern – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category.
  8. Data deficient – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
  9. Not evaluated – Has not yet been evaluated against criteria.

Facts –

  • When discussing the IUCN Red list, the official term threatened is a grouping of three categories: critically endangered, and vulnerable.
  • CITIES aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threatened their survival.


Basics –

  • Mangroves are salt tolerant trees and shrubs that grow in the intertidal regions of the tropical and subtropical coastlines
  • They form unique intertidal at the edge of land and sea.
  • Also called as mangroves forest biome, mangrove swamp and mangrove forest

Characteristics –

  • Habitat –
  • They grow abundantly in places where freshwater mixes with seawater along with sediments of accumulated deposits of mud.
  • They need average temperatures of the coldest month higher than 20 c
  • The shores must be free of strong wave action and tidal current.
  • They need a large tidal range. This causes limited erosion and deposition of sediments.
  • Adaptation –
  • Breathing roots
  1. Underground tissue of many plant requires oxygen for respiration and in mangrove environment, oxygen in soils is very limited.
  2. Mangrove species have specialized above ground roots called breathing roots or pneumatophores to take up oxygen from the atmosphere.
  • These roots have numerous pores through which oxygen enters into the underground tissues
  • Silt roots –
  1. Roots diverge from stems and branches and penetrate the soil some distance away from the main stem.
  2. They provide the main physical support to the Mangroves, hence they are called as stilt roots.
  • Salt filtration –
  1. Mangroves are salt tolerant trees adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions.
  2. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action.
  • Salt glands on the leaves also exclude salt.
  • Viviparous –
  1. Mangrove species have unique way of reproduction, which is generally known as viviparous.
  2. In this method of reproduction, seeds germinate and develop into seedlings while the seeds are still attached to the parent tree.
  • Seedlings (propagules) photosynthesize while still attached to the mother tree and the parent tree supplies water and necessary nutrients.
  1. They are buoyant and float in the water for sometime before rooting themselves on suitable soil.

Uses –

  • Mangroves and their associated biodiversity are utilised largely for livelihood, traditional use and for subsistence economy.
  • It is considered as a best form of coastal bioshield since it plays a critical role in reducing the impact of cyclonic storms, hurricanes and tsunami.
  • It also avoids or reduces soil erosion.
  • It enhances fishery productivity of the adjacent coastal waters by acting as a nursery ground for commercially important fish, prawn and crabs.
  • They are also rich in biodiversity and act as habitats for wildlife.
  • Mangroves trees provide nesting sites for many shore birds.
  • They serve as home for crab-eating monkeys, proboscis monkeys, fishing cats, lizards, bats, and other animals.

Threats –

  • Variations in river and surface run-off
  • Inhibit the tropical coastal deltas of fresh water and silt, cause losses of mangroves species diversity and organic production.
  • Soil reclamation for agriculture and aquaculture.
  • Clear cutting of mangroves trees and building dikes.
  • Clear cutting of the mangroves for their hard wood – important export product for building constructions in areas large concentration of termites, the wood is resistant against these termites.
  • Use of pesticides and fertilizers
  • Coastal development activities
  • Climate change
  • Spills of oil, toxic chemicals and dumping of waste into the water causes localized impacts on the mangroves.

Mangroves in India –

  • In India, mangroves occur on the West Coast, on the East Coast and on Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The deltas of the Ganga, the Mahanadi, the Krishna, the Godavari, and the Kaveri are covered by such vegetation.
  • The mangroves of Sunderbans are the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangroves in the world.
  • In the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta, Sundari trees are found, which provide durable hard timber.
  • Royal Bengal Tiger is the famous animal in these forests.
  • Turtles Crocodiles, Gharials and Snakes are also found in these forests.
  • Area wise distribution of mangroves in India –
  1. West Bengal
  2. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  3. Maharashtra
  4. Gujarat
  5. Andhra Pradesh
  6. Tamil Nadu
  7. Orissa
  8. Karnataka
  9. Goa
  10. Kerala
  • initiatives –
  • National mangrove Committee was constituted in 1976 to advise the government about mangroves conservation and development.
  • On the basis of the National mangrove Committee’s recommendation, 15 mangrove areas were identified for conservation.
  • The plans broadly cover survey and demarcation, natural regeneration in selected areas, afforestation, protection measures, fencing and awareness programmes.
  • Zoological Survey of India has set up 25 permanent monitoring stations in five islands of the Sunderbans.
  • These monitoring stations will study the impact of climate change on the mangroves and its fauna.
  • ZSI is collaborating with Botanical Survey of India to study the life cycle of plants influenced by climate variations

Facts –

  • Shrimp farming causes approximately a quarter of the destruction of mangrove forests.
  • Xyiocorpus; a species of mangroves is used as a mild poison for catching fish.
  • Baratang Island Mangroves is located in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Bhitarkanika Mangroves –
  • Bhitarkanika Mangroves is India’s second largest mangroves forest, located in Odisha.
  • Bhitarkanika is created by the river delta of Brahmani and Baitarani rivers
  • It is one of the important Ramsar Wetland in India.
  • Godavari and Krishna mangroves –
  • Third rich mangroves in biological diversity after the mangroves of the Sunderbans and Mahanadi
  • Godavari, Krishna mangroves is vital for Calimere Wildlife and Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary.

Coral Reefs

Basics –

Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals.

  • They are characterized by high biomass production and a rich faunal and floral diversity.
  • Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems, as the they are very sensitive to water temperature.

Characteristics –

  • Habitat –
  • They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water corals also exist on smaller scales in other areas.
  • The vast majority of these islands are volcanic in origin.
  • Shallow-water reefs form only in a zone extending from 300 N to 300 S of the equator.
  • They grow only at depths shallower than 150 m (490 ft) because of their need for sunlight, and cannot grow above sea level.
  • The optimum temperature for most coral reefs is 26-270 C (79-810 F), and few reefs exist in waters below 180 C (640 F).
  • Formation –
  • The bulk of coral reefs are made up of coral skeletons from mostly intact coral colonies.
  • Coral reefs are built from limestone skeletons of tiny organisms called polyps.
  • Corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps.
  • The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria.
  • Reef building corals are a symbiotic association of polyps and zooxanthellae.
  • Types –
  • Fringing reef – directly attached to a shore, or borders it with and intervening shallow channel or lagoon
  • Barrier reef – reef separated from a mainland or island shore by a deep channel or lagoon.
  • Atoll reef- more or less circular or continuous barrier reef extends all the way around a lagoon without a central island.
  • Ecosystem services –
  • Habitat
  • tourism, fisheries and shoreline protection
  • Threats –
  • Climate change, oceanic acidification (coral bleaching)
  • blast fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish
  • overuse of reef resources, sunscreen use
  • harmful land-use practices, including urban and agricultural runoff
  • violent storms, flooding high and low temperature extremes, El Nino events
  • Coral reefs in India –
  • Coastal areas
  1. Gulf of Kutch in the north west (some of the most northerly reefs in the world)
  2. Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar (with numerous fringing reefs around small islands) in the south east
  • Islands

Andaman and Nicobar Islands –

  1. Fringing reefs
  2. Barrier reef on the west coast(320 km long)

Largest reefs areas

  1. A&N Islands –(953 Km2)
  2. Lakshadweep Islands (816.1 Km2)
  3. Gujarat (460.2 Km2)
  4. Tamil Nadu (94.3 Km2)

Facts –

  • Coral reefs are called as rainforests of the sea, shallow coral reefs form some of the divers ecosystems on Earth.
  • They occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species
  • Largest reefs –
  1. The Great Barrier Reef (2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands), Australia
  2. Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System
  3. Andros, Bahamas Barrier Reef
  • The Indo-Pacific region (including the Red sea, Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific) account for 91.9% of the total reefs.
  • Hermatypic corals along the shore are reported from Quilon in the Kerala coast to Enayem in Tamil Nadu.
  • The coral reefs of India come under the jurisdiction of the department of forests and wildlife
  • corals are not included in the wildlife protection act

­Protected Areas

Introduction –

  • Protected areas are those in which human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited.
  • Protected areas are designated with the objective of conserving biodiversity
  • Protected areas are essential for biodiversity conservation, often providing habitat and protection from hinting for threatened and endangered species.
  • There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the laws of country.
  • The term “protected area” also includes –
  • Marine Protected Areas, the boundaries of which will include some area of ocean
  • Trans boundary Protected areas that overlap multiple countries which remove the borders inside the area for conservation

IUCN Protected area categories –

  • Categories used to classify protected areas in a system developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Categories method is recognised on a global scale by national governments and international bodies such as the UN and CBD
  • Categories –

Categories I a – Strict Nature Reserve –

  • Area which is protected from all but light human use in order to preserve the geological and geomorphical features of the region and its biodiversity.

Category Ib – Wilderness Area-

  • similar to a strict nature reserve, but generally larger and protected in a slightly less stringent manner

Category II – National Park –

  • similar to a wilderness area in its size and its main objective of protecting functioning ecosystems

Category III – Natural Monument or Feature –

  • comparatively smaller area that is specifically allocated to protected a natural monument and its surrounding habitats

Category IV – Habitat/Species Management Area –

  • similar to a natural monument or feature, but focuses

Category V – Protocol Landscape/Seascape –

  • covers an entire body of land or ocean with an explicit natural conservation plan, but usually also accommodates a range of for-profit activities

Categories VI – Protected Area with sustainable use of natural resources

Protected areas in India –

  • National parks
  • Wildlife sanctuaries
  • Biosphere reserves
  • Conservation reserves
  • Community reserves

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 –

  • The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was enacted on 9 September 1972
  • Objective –
  • The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was enacted with the objective of effectively controlling poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its derivatives.
  • It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act.
  • Amended in the year 2006 to give statutory to project tiger.
  • Schedules –

It has six schedule which give varying degrees of protection.

Schedule I and part II of Schedule II –

  • Includes species which require absolute protection
  • Offences under these prescribed the highest penalties
  • Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower
  • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted
  • The plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting