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Forest biodiversity and its conservation in India

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With its varied climate and terrain, and characterised by at least 10 distinct bio-geographical regions, India supports a huge variety of forest types and harbours three global terrestrial biodiversity hot spots. Most of the terrestrial biodiversity now resides in the forest, as other terrestrial habitats have lost their natural state. An impressive protected area network, comprising 509 wildlife sanctuaries, 96 national parks (including 14 biosphere reserves), and several sacred groves maintained by indigenous communities, is in place. However, despite a benign forest policy and a strong regulatory regime, forest degradation and biodiversity loss continue because of the increasing requirements of the burgeoning human population, land use change and spread of invasive alien species. The extent and loss of biodiversity must be continuously monitored and people attracted to participate in biodiversity conservation rehabilitation on a massive scale.
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Keywords: biodiversity; conservation; forest; hotspots; protected area network

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Botany Department, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, India. 2: Forestry and Ecology Division, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun 248001, India.

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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