Important steps taken by the Government for preservation of biodiversity and resources
- Survey, inventorization, taxonomic validation and threat assessment of floral and faunal resources;
- Assessment of the forest cover to develop an accurate database for planning and monitoring;
- Establishment of a Protected Area Network of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation and Community Reserves;
- Designating Biosphere Reserves for conservation of representative ecosystems;
- Undertaking of species oriented programmes, such as Project Tiger and Project Elephant; complemented with ex-situ conservation efforts.
- In addition, Biological Diversity Act 2002 has also been enacted with the aim to conserve biological resources of the country and regulation of access to these resources to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their use, under which a National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards in all States have been set up for implementing the provisions of the Act.
- The Government has put in place several measures towards ensuring that interventions and activities in forest areas do no adversely affect the biodiversity. For ensuring protection of flora and fauna within protected areas, Management Plans are prepared by State Forest Departments which inter alia include a schedule of activities to be taken up over a period of ten years.
- The Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 provides for diligence to be taken before approval of any activity is accorded by the State Government within a protected area.
Other measures of protection
- In addition, the Central Government provides financial assistance to States and Union Territories under Centrally Sponsored Schemes such as: Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat; Project Tiger, and Project Elephant for better protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat; and Identification of Forest Management Scheme towards protection and management of forests.
- The Government supports conservation of some prioritised/threatened medicinal plants harboured in specially designated Medicinal Plants Conservation Areas (MPCAs) that are primarily forested areas.
- The National Afforestation & Eco-development Board of the Ministry promotes afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, with special attention to degraded areas as well as ecologically fragile areas.
- Notwithstanding these measures, various non-forestry activities undertaken in forest areas for mining, industries, hydel power development, irrigation dams, railways, roads and other essential developmental activities may lead to destruction of forests and biodiversity in the diverted forest areas.
- In order to compensate this loss of forest areas and biodiversity, compensatory afforestation on equivalent non forest land is done to compensate the loss of forest and biodiversity and such non forest lands are declared as Protected Forests/Reserve Forests under Indian Forest Act 1927.
- In case of Central Government PSU projects, compensatory afforestation is done over twice the area of degraded forest area at the cost of user agency to improve and conserve the biodiversity in the degraded forest.