ex-situ conservation

Ex-situ conservation is the preservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. This involves conservation of genetic resources, as well as wild and cultivated or species, and draws on a diverse body of techniques and facilities. Such strategies include establishment of botanical gardens, zoos, conservation strands and gene, pollen seed, seedling, tissue culture and DNA banks.

i. Seed gene bank:

These are cold storages where seeds are kept under controlled temperature and humidity for storage and this is easiest way to store the germ plasma of plants at low temperature. Seeds preserved under controlled conditions (minus temperature) remain viable for long durations of time.

ii. Gene bank:

Genetic variability also is preserved by gene bank under normal growing conditions. These are cold storages where germ plam are kept under controlled temperature and humidity for storage; this is an important way of preserving the genetic resources.

iii. Cryopreservation:

This is the newest application of technology for preservation of biotic parts. This type of conservation is done at very low temperature (196°C) in liquid nitrogen. The metabolic activities of the organisms are suspended under low temperature, which are later used for research purposes.

iv. Tissue culture bank:

Cryopreservation of disease free meristems is very helpful. Long term culture of excised roots and shoots are maintained. Meristem culture is very popular in plant propagation as it’s a virus and disease free method of multiplication.

v. Long term captive breeding:

The method involves capture, maintenance and captive breeding on long term basis of individuals of the endangered species which have lost their habitat permanently or certain highly unfavorable conditions are present in their habitat.

vi. Botanical gardens:

A botanical garden is a place where flowers, fruits and vegetables are grown. The botanical gardens provide beauty and calm environment. Most of them have started keeping exotic plants for educational and research purposes.

vii. Animal Translocation:

Release of animals in a new locality which come from anywhere else.

Translocation is carried in following cases:

1. When a species on which an animal is dependent becomes rare.

2. When a species is endemic or restricted to a particular area.

3. Due to habit destruction and unfavorable environment conditions.

4. Increase in population in an area.

viii. Zoological Gardens:

In zoos wild animals are maintained in captivity and conservation of wild animals (rare, endangered species). The oldest zoo, the Schonbrumm zoo which exists today also, was established in VIENNA in 1759.

In India, the 1st zoo came into existence at BARRACKPORE in 1800. In world there are about 800 zoos. Such zoos have about 3000 species of vertebrates. Some zoos have undertaken captive breeding programmes.

Advantages of ex-situ preservation:

1. It is useful for declining population of species.

2. Endangered animals on the verge of extinction are successfully breeded.

3. Threatened species are breeded in captivity and then released in the natural habitats.

4. Ex-situ centres offer the possibilities of observing wild animals, which is otherwise not possible.

5. It is extremely useful for conducting research and scientific work on different species.