Expansion of the protected area network
Maintaining viable populations of species, whether plant or animal, is a crucial factor in biodiversity conservation and this requires the appropriate conservation of important ecosystems and habitats. Currently, the country has 88 national parks, and 490 sanctuaries. This coverage will provide a ‘better distribution of protected areas with less gaps in the protection of biogeographic zones, biomes and species and fewer spatial or geographic gaps in the pattern of PA coverage’ . Currently, the protected area network does not adequately cover some important biomes and mammal species of conservation significance.
Conservation strategies are urgently needed for the protection of species and ecosystems, involving a mix of in situ and ex situ strategies. Some of the steps in such a policy include the following.
- Assessing rates of transformations of LSE types with the help of satellite imagery of earlier years, official records, and oral histories
- Assessing the threats to different species as a result of ongoing landscape changes and other causes like commercial harvests
- Assigning conservation priorities to species on the basis of threats to their populations, rarity, endemism, and taxonomic distinctiveness
- Assigning conservation priorities to different types of habitats or LSEs on the basis of richness and conservation significance of the threatened species they harbour