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Biodiversity Heritage Site

  • Published
    5th Dec, 2023
Context

India's commitment to biodiversity conservation is exemplified through the unique approach of Biodiversity Heritage Sites, recognized under Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. These sites boast rich biodiversity, encompassing wild and domesticated species, high endemism, and cultural significance.

Background

Biodiversity Heritage Sites: A Conservation Approach:

  • Definition and Criteria: Biodiversity Heritage Sites are areas with diverse wildlife, including rare and threatened species, keystone species, and those of evolutionary significance. They may also include fossil beds and sites with cultural or aesthetic value.
  • Notification Process: As per Section 37 (1) of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, State Governments, in consultation with local bodies, have the authority to notify these sites in the Official Gazette.

Current Landscape:

  • To date, sixteen states have notified forty-four Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
  • These sites stand as testament to India's rich biodiversity and cultural diversity, emphasizing the need for their conservation.

Conservation Initiatives on Plant Genetic Resources:

  • Government Schemes: The Government of India actively promotes the conservation of plant genetic resources, particularly the seeds of farmers' varieties and landraces.
    • Initiatives under schemes like Tribal Sub-Plan, North-Eastern Hill Region, and Scheduled Caste Sub Plan contribute to on-farm cultivation, value chain development, and marketing involving Self Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organizations.
  • National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources: The Bureau identifies and conserves 233 potential varieties of different crops in seven states, engaging farmers in the process.

Recognition and Rewards for Conservation Efforts:

  • Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority (PPVFR) Act, 2001: Under Section 39(1) (iv), the PPVFR Authority annually confers awards, rewards, and recognitions to farmers and farming communities involved in conserving Plant Genetic Resources.
  • Plant Genome Saviour Community Awards, Rewards, and Recognitions: The awards, amounting to Rs. 10.00 lakhs, Rs. 1.50 lakhs, and Rs. 1.00 lakh respectively, acknowledge outstanding efforts in plant genome conservation. So far, 41 Community Awards, 67 Farmer Rewards, and 84 Farmer Recognitions have been bestowed.
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