Environmental services from species and ecosystems are essential at global, regional and local levels. India is a megadiverse nation and land of around 10% of world's species. It also has a rich cultural heritage traced back to thousands of years. Much of Indian biodiversity is intricately related to the socio-cultural practices of the land. Unfortunately, due to population explosion, climate change and lax implementation of environmental policies, several species are facing the threat of extinction. A complete summary on the Biodiversity in India is discussed below:
Flora and Fauna of India
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): India is a megadiverse country with only 2.4% of the world's land area, accounts for 7-8% of all recorded species, including species of plants and species of animals.
1. There are about 45,000 species of plants, which is about 7% of world's total. About 33% of these are endemic.
2. There are 15,000 flowering plants, which is 6% of world's total. Roughly, 1,500 plant species are endangered.
3. There are 91,000 animal species, representing about 6.5% of world's fauna. These include 60,000 insect species, 2,456 fish species, 1,230 bird species, 372 mammals, over 440 reptiles and 200 amphibians with largest concentration in Western Ghats and 500 molluscs.
4. Livestock diversity is high. There are 400 breeds of sheep, 27 of cattle and 22 of goats found in India.
5. It has also globally important populations of some of Asia's rarest animals, such as the Bengal Fox, Asiatic Cheetah, Marbled Cat, Asiatic Lion, Indian Elephant, Asiatic Wild Ass, Indian Rhinoceros, Markhor, Gaur, Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo etc.
Classification of Biodiversity in India
1. Malayan Biodiversity
It is along the densely forested areas of the Eastern Himalayas and along the coastal areas.
2. Ethiopian Biodiversity
The arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan are characterised by this kind of biodiversity.
3. European Biodiversity
This kind of biodiversity is found in the areas of upper Himalayas where the climatic characteristics are mostly temperate in nature.
4. Indian Biodiversity
The dense forest areas of Indian plain are characterised by this kind of biodiversity.
Bio Geographic Regions and Provinces of India
There are 10 biogeographic regions or zones in India which are further divided into 25 biogeographic provinces. These are as follow
1. Trans Himalaya: This zone has three provinces Ladakh mountains, Tibetan Plateau, Trans- Himalaya Sikkim.
2. The Himalaya: It has four provinces-North-West Himalaya, West Himalaya, Central Himalaya and East Himalaya.
3. The Indian Desert: This zone includes two provinces- Thar and Kutch.
4. The Semi-Arid: This constitutes two namely-Punjab Gujarat-Rajasthan.
5. The Western Ghats: Two provinces namely Malabar plains and Western Ghats Mountains are included in this zone.
6. The Deccan Plateau: This zone has five provinces Central Highlands, Chhota Nagpur, Eastern Highlands, Central Plateau and Deccan South.
7. The Coasts: Three provinces namely- West coast, East coast and Lakshadweep.
8. The Gangetic Plains: This zone has two provinces- Upper Gangetic plains and lower Gangetic plains.
9. North East India: Two provinces are included- Brahmaputra valley and North-East hills.
10. Islands: This zone include two provinces-Andaman and Nicobar. It is highly diverse set of biomes.
As we know that India is one of the megadiverse countries in the world, but many plants and animals are facing threats of extinction. The Wildlife Act mentions 253 fauna species as requiring adequate protection and 135 plants as species have been identified as endangered by the Botanical Survey of India.