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.
- 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.
- 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.