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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Assess the significance of the Western Ghats in the conservation of India's biodiversity. (150 words)

    01 Mar, 2023 GS Paper 3 Bio-diversity & Environment


    • Start your answer by briefly writing about western ghats.
    • Discuss its significance in conserving biodiversity in India.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    • The Western Ghats are a biodiversity hotspot and one of the most important regions for conservation in India. The region is home to a vast variety of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the region.
      • The Western Ghats contain around 30% of India's flowering plant species, 50% of its amphibians, and 14% of its mammals.
      • Additionally, the region is home to several endangered species such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Malabar Civet, and the Great Indian Hornbill.


    Importance of the Western Ghats in Conservation:

    • The Western Ghats are of significant importance in the conservation of India's biodiversity due to several reasons:
      • Endemic Species: The region is home to a large number of endemic species. Endemic species are species that are found only in a specific geographic area, and the Western Ghats have a high number of such species.
        • This makes the region crucial for conservation as the loss of habitat would result in the extinction of these species.
      • Watershed Protection: The Western Ghats are the source of several rivers, including the Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery. These rivers are vital for agriculture, drinking water, and other human needs.
        • The region also has several dams and hydroelectric projects. Conservation of the Western Ghats is, therefore, necessary for the protection of these water sources and the prevention of water scarcity in the region.
      • Climate Regulation: The Western Ghats play a significant role in regulating the regional climate.
        • The region receives a large amount of rainfall, and the forests in the region absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change.
      • Cultural Significance: The Western Ghats are home to several indigenous communities whose lives and cultures are closely linked to the region's biodiversity.
        • The conservation of the Western Ghats is, therefore, necessary for the preservation of these communities' cultural heritage.

    Examples of Conservation Efforts in the Western Ghats:

    • Several conservation efforts are being made in the Western Ghats to preserve the region's biodiversity. Some of these efforts include:
      • Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: Several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks have been established in the Western Ghats, including the Silent Valley National Park, Periyar National Park, and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
        • These protected areas provide a safe haven for the region's wildlife and prevent habitat destruction.
      • Conservation of Endemic Species: The conservation of endemic species is a crucial aspect of conservation in the Western Ghats.
        • Several organizations, including the Wildlife Institute of India, are working on conserving the region's endemic species such as the Lion-Tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, and the Great Indian Hornbill.
      • Community-Based Conservation: Community-based conservation involves working with local communities to protect the region's biodiversity.
        • Several organizations such as the Keystone Foundation are working on community-based conservation efforts in the Western Ghats.
          • These efforts involve working with indigenous communities to preserve their traditional knowledge of biodiversity and conserve the region's natural resources.
      • Government Initiatives for Conservation of Western Ghats:
        • In 2012, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests declared the Western Ghats as an ecologically sensitive area and established the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) to develop guidelines for the conservation and sustainable development of the region.
          • The WGEEP report proposed a range of measures to protect the biodiversity of the Western Ghats, including the creation of new protected areas, the restoration of degraded habitats, and the development of sustainable tourism initiatives.
          • The Indian government has also established several protected areas in the Western Ghats, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, to protect the region's biodiversity.


    • The Western Ghats play a critical role in the conservation of India's biodiversity, and the conservation of this region is essential for maintaining the ecological, social, and cultural integrity of the region.
    • Several conservation efforts are underway in the Western Ghats, However, there is a need for continued efforts to preserve the Western Ghats' biodiversity, particularly in light of climate change and human activities such as deforestation and mining.
    • Going forward, a multi-stakeholder approach involving the government, civil society, and local communities is necessary for the effective conservation of the Western Ghats and the sustainable use of its natural resources.

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