In-situ conservation 

In-situ conservation is on site conservation or the conservation of genetic resources in natural populations of plant or animal species, such as forest genetic resources in natural populations of tree species.

It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat, either by protecting or cleaning up the habitat itself, or by defending the species from predators.

It is applied to conservation of agricultural biodiversity in agro forestry by farmers, especially those using unconventional farming practices. In-situ conservation is being done by declaring area as protected area.

In India following types of natural habitats are being maintained:

1. National parks

2. Wildlife sanctuaries

3. Biosphere reserves

INDIA has over 600 protected areas, which includes over 90 national parks, over 500 animal sanctuaries and 15 biosphere reserves.

1. National Parks:

A national park is an area which is strictly reserved for the betterment of the wildlife and where activities like forestry, grazing on cultivation are not permitted. In these parks, even private ownership rights are not allowed.

Their boundaries are well marked and circumscribed. They are usually small reserves spreading in an area of 100 Sq. km. to 500 sq. km. In national parks, the emphasis is on the preservation of a single plant or animal species.

Table. List of some major National Parks of India:

S.No. Name State Established Area (in km2)
1. Corbett National Park Uttarakhand 1921 1318.5
2. Dudhwa National Park Uttar Pradesh 1977 490.29
3. Gir National Park Gujarat 1965 258.71
4. Kanha National Park Madhya Pradesh 1955 940
5. Kanger Ghati National Park (Kanger Valley) Chhattisgarh 1982 200
6. Kaziranga National Park Assam 1974 471.71
7. Nanda Devi National Park Uttarakhand 1982 630.33
8. Sariska National Park Rajasthan 1955 866
9. Silent Valley National Park Kerala 1980 237
10. Sundarbans National Park West Bengal 1984 1330.12

2. Wildlife Sanctuaries:

A sanctuary is a protected area which is reserved for the conservation of only animals and human activities like harvesting of timber, collecting minor forest products and private ownership rights are allowed as long as they do not interfere with well-being of animals. Boundaries of sanctuaries are not well defined and controlled biotic interference is permitted, e.g., tourist activity.

Table. List of some major Wildlife Sanctuaries of India:

S.No. Name State Established Area (in km2)
1. Ghana Bird Sanctuary Rajasthan 1982 28.73
2. Hazaribag Wildlife Sanctuary Jharkhand 1954 183.89
3. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary Tamil Nadu 1940 321.55
4. Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary West Bengal 2012 216
5. Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary Rajasthan 1960 288.84
6. Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary (Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park) Tamil Nadu 1989 117.10

3. Biosphere Reserves:

It is a special category of protected areas where human population also forms a part of the system. They are large protected area of usually more than 5000 A biosphere reserves has 3 parts- core, buffer and transition zone.

1. Core zone is the inner zone; this is undisturbed and legally protected area.

2. Buffer zone lies between the core and transition zone. Some research and educational activities are permitted here.

3. Transition zone is the outermost part of biosphere reserves. Here cropping, forestry, recreation, fishery and other activities are allowed.

The main functions of biodiversity reserves are:

1. Conservation:

To ensure the conservation of ecosystem, species and genetic resources.

2. Development:

To promote economic development, while maintaining cultural, social and ecological identity.

3. Scientific Research:

To provide support for research related to monitoring and education, local, national and global issues.

Biosphere reserves serve in some ways as ‘living laboratories’ for testing out and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity.

Table. List of some major Biosphere Reserves of India:

S.No. Name State Established Area (in km2)
1. Nanda Devi Uttarakhand 1982 5,860.69
2. Manas Assam 1990 2837
3. Gulf of Mannar Tamil Nadu 1980 10,500
4. Great Nicobar Andaman and Nicobar Islands 1989 885
5. Panchmarhi Madhya Pradesh 1999 4,926.28

Advantages of in-situ conservation:

1. The flora and fauna live in natural habitats without human interference.

2. The life cycles of the organisms and their evolution progresses in a natural way.

3. In-situ conservation provides the required green cover and its associated benefits to our environment.

4. It is less expensive and easy to manage.

5. The interests of the indigenous people are also protected.