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Biodiversity & Environment

PBR and Biodiversity Management in India

  • 25 May 2023
  • 9 min read

Why in News

The National Campaign for Updation and Verification of People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) was launched in Goa, marking a significant milestone in the documentation and preservation of India's rich biological diversity. It was organised by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

  • Till now, 2,67,608 PBRs have been prepared in the country.

What is the People's Biodiversity Register?

  • About:
    • The People's Biodiversity Register serves as a comprehensive record of various aspects of biodiversity, including conservation of habitats, preservation of land races, folk varieties, and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals, and micro-organisms.
    • Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) are created as per the Biological Diversity Act 2002 for promoting conservation, sustainable use, and documentation of biological diversity.
      • Local bodies in the states and union territories constitute BMCs, which are entrusted with the preparation of People's Biodiversity Registers in consultation with local communities.
  • Importance:
    • It helps in conserving biodiversity, which is key to maintaining balance in nature. It also enables local communities to share the benefits derived from genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
    • It supports the implementation of the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act 2002, which aims to regulate access to biological resources and ensure fair and equitable benefit sharing.
    • Being a bottom-up exercise, it is also a means of understanding the overlap of cultural and natural biodiversity.
      • It envisages a decentralised way through an inclusive approach.
    • It aligns with the concept of “Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE)”, introduced by the Indian Prime Minister at COP26 in Glasgow.
      • This concept calls upon individuals and institutions globally to promote mindful and deliberate utilisation of resources to protect and preserve the environment.

What is the Status of Biodiversity Management in India?

  • About:
    • With only 2.4% of the earth’s land area, India accounts for 7-8% of the world’s recorded species.
    • 4 of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots are located in India: The Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo-Burma area, and Sundaland.
      • Two of these, the Indo-Burma area and Sundaland, are distributed throughout South Asia and are not precisely contained within India’s formal borders.
  • Biodiversity Governance in India:
    • India’s Biological Diversity Act (BDA) 2002, is in close synergy with the Nagoya Protocol and aims to implement provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
      • The Nagoya Protocol sought to ensure commercial and research utilisation of genetic resources led to sharing its benefits with the government and the community that conserved such resources.
    • The BDA was hailed as an important step towards preserving India’s vast biodiversity, as it recognised the sovereign right of countries over its natural resources.
      • It seeks to address issues of managing bio-resources in the most decentralised manner possible.
    • It also envisages three layered structures:
      • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) at the national level.
      • The State Biodiversity Boards (SSBs) at the state level
      • Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at the local level.
    • The act also strengthens the country’s stand with respect to anyone claiming an intellectual property right over biodiversity-related knowledge.
  • Challenges related to Biodiversity Conservation:
    • Introduction of Invasive Species: Invasive alien species include plants, animals and pathogens that are non-native to an ecosystem cause environmental harm or adversely affect ecological balance.
      • According to CBD reports, invasive alien species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinction.
    • Global Warming and Climate Change: It poses threats to plant and animal species as many organisms are sensitive to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere that may lead to their disappearance.
      • Use of pesticide, rise of tropospheric ozone, sulphur and nitrogen oxides from industries also contribute to the degradation of natural ecosystems.
    • Choking Marine Biodiversity: Due to lack of efficient plastic waste management, microplastics are getting dumped into oceans choking and starving marine life and causing liver, reproductive, and gastrointestinal damage in animals and directly impacting marine biodiversity.
    • Genetic Modification Concern: Genetically modified plants impose high risks to the disruption of ecosystem and biodiversity because the better traits produced from engineering genes can result in the favouring of one organism.
      • Hence, it can eventually disrupt the natural process of gene flow and affect the sustainability of indigenous variety.

What is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)?

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was negotiated and signed by nations at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on June 5, 1992.
    • The convention came into force on December 29, 1993. India became a party to the convention on February 18, 1994. At the present, there are 196 Parties to this Convention.
  • CBD is a legally binding treaty and has 3 main objectives:
    • Conservation of biodiversity.
    • Sustainable use of the components of biodiversity.
    • Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
  • The Secretariat of the CBD is based in Montreal, Canada.

Way Forward

  • Community-led Conservation: There is a need to engage local communities, including indigenous peoples, in the conservation efforts. Encourage their active participation by involving them in decision-making processes, establishing community-managed conservation areas, and recognizing their traditional knowledge and practices related to biodiversity conservation.
  • Technology and Data-driven Conservation: There is a need to utilise emerging technologies such as remote sensing, drones, and artificial intelligence to monitor and track biodiversity changes, identify high-priority conservation areas, and assess the effectiveness of conservation interventions.
  • Protecting Entire Biosphere: Conservation should not be limited to the species level but should be about the conservation of the entire ecosystem, including the local communities.
    • India needs more biosphere reserves to protect biodiversity and ensure sustainability of the ecosystem.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q1. Two important rivers – one with its source in Jharkhand (and known by a different name in Odisha), and another, with its source in Odisha – merge at a place only a short distance from the coast of Bay of Bengal before flowing into the sea. This is an important site of wildlife and biodiversity and a protected area. Which one of the following could be this? (2011)

(a) Bhitarkanika
(b) Chandipur-on-sea
(c) Gopalpur-on-sea
(d) Simlipal

Ans: (a)

Q2. With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon frogmouth, Coppersmith barbet, Gray-chinned minivet and White-throated redstart are (2020)

(a) Birds
(b) Primates 
(c) Reptiles 
(d) Amphibians

Ans: (a)


Mains

Q. How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act,2002 helpful in the conservation of flora and fauna? (2018)

Source: PIB

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