Recently, the Odisha government has declared the Gupteswar forest in Koraput district as its fourth Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS).
About Biodiversity Heritage Site
- These are areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the components such as;
- species richness, high endemism, presence of rare, endemic and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance, wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or land races or their varieties, past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and having cultural or aesthetic values.
Who can declare BHS?
- Under section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, the State Governments are empowered to notify in the official gazette, in consultation with ‘local bodies’, areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
- Under sub section (2) of Section 37 of the BD Act, the State Government in consultation with the Central Government may frame rules for the management and conservation of BHS.
- Under sub section (3) of Section 37 of the BD Act, the State Governments are empowered to frame schemes for compensating or rehabilitating any person or section of people economically affected by such notification.
- Importance of Biological Diversity Heritage Sites: Biodiversity is closely linked to ecological security. Loss of biodiversity and bioresources show an increasing trend mainly due to human activities. Therefore, it is necessary to instil and nurture conservation ethics in the community.
Q1) What are keystone species?
It is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Keystone species have low functional redundancy. This means that if the species were to disappear from the ecosystem, no other species would be able to fill its ecological niche.