Wildlife Conservation Efforts

India’s biodiversity-rich zones also ‘hotspots’ of human impacts


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Human Footprint Data

Mains Level: Read the attached story 


  • Human impacts on species occur across 84% of the earth’s surface, finds a study published in PLOS Biology, an international journal dedicated to biological science.

Human Footprint Data

  • Southeast Asian tropical forests — including India’s biodiversity-rich Western Ghats, Himalaya and the north-east also fall in this category.
  • Malaysia ranks first among the countries with the highest number of impacted species (125).
  • India ranks 16th in such human impacts, with 35 species impacted on average.
  • The study mapped the distribution of eight human activities — including hunting and conversion of natural habitats for agriculture — in areas occupied by 5,457 threatened birds, mammals and amphibians worldwide.

Roads poses threat

  • India has the world’s second largest road network.
  • While the impact of roads is highest (affecting 72% of terrestrial areas), crop lands affect the highest number of threatened species: 3,834.

Hot spots

  • Southeast Asian tropical forests — including those in India’s Western Ghats, Himalaya and north-east — are among the ‘hotspots’ of threatened species.
  • For instance, the average number of species impacted in the South Western Ghats montane rainforests is 60 and in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, 53.

Cool spots

  • There are ‘cool-spots’ (the world’s last refuges where high numbers of threatened species still persist).
  • Cool-spots could be the result of protection or because of intact habitat that has not been cleared yet.
  • India still has crucial refuges that need protecting. Identifying such areas could aid conservation and development planning for countries.
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