The Government of India has taken several steps for conservation of biodiversity which includes survey, inventorization, taxonomic validation and threat assessment of floral and faunal resources; assessment to develop an accurate data base for planning and monitoring as well as conservation and protection of forests; 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, Project Elephant, Project Dolphin; complemented with ex-situ conservation efforts.
A total of 1,02,718 species of fauna and 54,733 species of flora have been documented in the 10 biogeographic zones of the country. 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 take-up over a period of ten years. The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022 provides for diligence to be taken before approval of any activity is accorded by the State Government with in a protected area to ensure conservation and protection of biodiversity.
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.
In India, the total forest cover is 21.71% of the total geographical area, while forest and tree cover is 25%. 998 Protected areas, which cover 5.3% geographical area including Wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, marine protected areas etc., have been designated. Further, 22 flagship species are under Ecosystem-based conservation.Towards the conservation of Wetlands, the number of Ramsar sites (Wetlands ofInternational Importance) in India has increased to 75. India has the largest number of Ramsar sites in South Asia.
Furthermore, the 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. Some of the measures taken towards implementation of the Biological Diversity Act includes: formation of State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) and Union Territory Biodiversity Councils (UTBCs) in all States and UTs, declaration of 36 Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS), notification of threatened species which are on the verge of extinction for 18 states and 2 UTs (Assam, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar and Diu & Daman), establishment of 2.77 lakh Biodiversity Management Committees and preparation of 2.67 lakh People’s Biodiversity Registers in 28 States and 7 UTs.
The Government of India has taken several initiatives for protection of biodiversity and conservation like National Action Plan for Desertification & Drought; National Action Plan for Climate Change; National Mission on Sustainable Habitat; National Water Mission; National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem; Green India Mission; National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture; National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic ecosystems and Water Resources programme for Repair, Renovation & Restoration of Water bodies with Domestic /External Assistance.
This information was given by Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.