The environment provides us with a variety of goods and services necessary for our day-to-day life. About ten thousand years ago, when humans changed from hunter-gatherers, living in the wilderness such as forests and secluded areas into agriculturists and pastoralists, we began to change the environment to suit our requirements. As our ability to grow food and use domestic animals developed, we converted natural areas into farms. While most traditional farmers were dependent on natural resources such as rain, streams, rivers, etc. for water; later they began to use wells, impound water and create irrigated land by building dams.
Industrial growth, urbanization, population growth, and an enormous increase in the use of consumer goods have further stressed the environment, as they create great qualities of solid waste.
Today, in this blog, let us take you on the journey of a serious problem that one of our natural resources is facing, the forest and wildlife resources. Understanding these problems, finding the solutions, and implementing is our duty as a responsible individual.
What Are Wildlife Resources?
In simple word, wildlife refers to living beings consist of animals, birds, reptiles, plants, micro-organisms, etc. found in natural habitats which are neither domesticated, tamed nor cultivated.
Generally, tribals and local people around forests know the value of wildlife resources first-hand because their lives and livelihoods depend directly on these resources. However, we – the people who stay away from pristine wilderness also derive great benefits from the forests.
If we think about India as a country and its wildlife resources, we rank among the top 15 countries with maximum biodiversity. Please note although we occupy only 2.4% of the world’s land, we contribute to 7-8% of global wildlife. There are about 45000 plant species in India, out of which 33% are endemic. Our country shelters 410 mammal species, 1349 birds, 518 reptiles and over 60,000 known species of insects.
Must Read: Complete Career Guide To Wildlife Biologist
Why Do We Need To Conserve Wildlife Resources?
Until fairly recently, we – the humans, acted as if we could endlessly exploit the earth’s ecosystems and various types of natural resources. Having said that, in the last few decades, it has become increasingly evident that the global ecosystem has the capacity to sustain only a limited level of utilization. Biological systems cannot go on replenishing resources if they are misused or overused. At a critical point, increasing pressure destabilizes their natural balance.
The two most damaging factors leading to the current rapid depletion of all forms of natural resources are increasing consumerism on the part of the affluent sections of society and rapid population growth. Both these factors are the outcome of choices that we make as an individual. We need to decide; what will we leave for our next generation and is my material gain someone else’s loss?
How To Conserve Wildlife Resources?
Reducing the unsustainable and unequal use of resources and controlling our population growth is essential for survival. There are several principles that each of us can adopt to bring about sustainable lifestyles. Primarily, it is caring for the earth in all respects. Love and respect for wildlife and the forest is the greatest sentiment that will help to bring about a feeling for looking at how we use natural resources in a new and sensitive way.
Think of the beauty of the wilderness, a natural forest in all its magnificence, the expanse of green grassland, the clean water of a lake that supports so much of life, the crystal-clear water of hill stream, the incredible power of the oceans and we cannot help but support conservation of nature’s wealth. If we respect this, we can not commit acts that can deplete our life-supporting systems.
Also Read: How to become a Wildlife Conservationist
The Wildlife (Protection) Act of India was implemented in 1972, with various legal section for protecting wildlife and their habitats.
In India, we have various types of protected areas in order to preserve and conserve the forest and wildlife resources on a state level. It includes – national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, community reserves and conservation reserves. Any sort of industrialization and exploitation are not permitted inside these protected areas.
National parks: An area that flourished with cultural, natural and historical values with the state government restrictions are known as national parks.
Wildlife sanctuaries: Unlike national parks, wildlife sanctuaries focus more on a particular type of wildlife – be it animal, bird, reptile, or anything else but not on the entire landscape.
Community reserves: When the community comes together in order to protect and conserve particular habitat along with its wildlife family, then it becomes a community reserve.
Conservation reserves: The areas that surround wildlife sanctuaries and national parks or join any two of them by being a corridor are also protected by law. These are conservation reserves.
In conclusion, conservation and forest resources use efficiency along with an equitable distribution of wildlife resources is the key to a sustainable lifestyle. “The world has enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed,” stated Mahatma Gandhi.