The term Biological diversity or Biodiversity refers to the entire variety and variability of life forms in existence on earth. It encompasses the entire range of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects and other invertebrates including plants, fungi and other micro-organisms like Protista, bacteria and viruses. Biodiversity on earth is expressed at three levels, genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. Its direct and indirect services are crucial for the sustenance of life on this planet.
Biodiversity ensures food, fuel, shelter, medicines and other resources which are vital for our survival. Most of the crops’ pests are controlled by a variety of other organisms, including insects, birds and fungi, which are certainly superior natural pesticides than their chemical equivalents which are extensively used and are really harmful to human beings and the environment. Many flowering plants rely on animal species such as insects, bats and birds for pollination and seed dispersal. Biodiversity, more importantly, offers a wide range of resources and services for the mankind. Diverse species enables diversification of livelihood and enables food production throughout the year.
The loss of Biodiversity is not a new thing. The period, since the emergence of humans, has displayed an enhanced ongoing reduction in biodiversity and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. The reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction, overexploitation, hunting, introduction of exotics etc. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively.
After becoming a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994, the Government of India has taken many important steps to further strengthen the existing framework. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 has been enacted which provides a legal mechanism for establishing sovereign rights over biological resources, their conservation, regulation of access and sustainable use of biodiversity and associated knowledge. It is being implemented by engaging decentralized regulation of activities through Biodiversity management committees (BMCs), State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) and National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) each with well-defined functions within their respective jurisdiction. Accordingly, it is being operated at National, State and Local level as a three tier system.
The Government of Rajasthan has framed ‘Rajasthan Biological Diversity Rules, 2010 and has established Rajasthan State Biodiversity Board for the purpose of this Act.