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National Geographer, Vol.XLVIII, No. 1 + 2 (Jan-June, July-Dec. 2013), Pages 49-57

Biodiversity Conservation and Indigenous Communities

Sarfaraz Alam
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Abstract

Biodiversity conservation of the earth is critically important for its ecological and economic security. The Rio Earth Summit of 1992 reiterated this. Now it is on the policy agenda of every state. However, there is lack of unanimity on measures to conserve biological diversity. The absence of the local people participation is cited as the most important reason for the failure of the biodiversity conservation efforts. It is widely believed that local people have the best knowledge of their environment. They are custodians of their biologically rich habitats and resources therein. Therefore, there is a need to involve them in each and every step of biodiversity conservation efforts. This paper argues for the active involvement of indigenous people in biodiversity conservation practices. 

INTRODUCTION

      Biodiversity is enormously valuable for the ecological and economic security of the planet earth. It provides ecological services to all inhabitants of the earth. It is also important for economic, social and aesthetic reasons. Though the planet earth is very rich in biological diversity, however we are witnessing rapid depletion of its genetic, species and ecological wealth. The depletion is caused by a combination of both natural as well as human factors. Throughout geological time since the evolution of unicellular organisms on the planet earth, the natural process of extinction and elimination have always taken place due to changes in climate, extreme events and other unknown causes. However, since the advent of human beings on the planet earth, the nature and dynamics of destruction of biological wealth of the planet has undergone significant qualitative and quantitative transformation. In particular, the Industrial Revolution and resultant expansion of human occupants of the planet earth have produced widespread destruction of habitats and elimination of plants and animals.

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