In-Situ and Ex-Situ Conservation, Explained!

According to National Geographic, conservation is the care and protection of Earth’s resources which include air, minerals, plants, soil, water, and wildlife so that they can persist for future generations. It includes maintaining the diversity of species, genes, and ecosystems as well as functions of the environment such as nutrient cycling.

Read more: Conservation | National Geographic Society

There are a few methods in place to conserve biodiversity. In-situ and Ex-situ are two of them. The word ‘situ’ has its origins in the Latin language, and it means in the original place. That, in a way, explains the conservation mythology. Regardless, it us understand in brief what these two methods are.

In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation

According to the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, in-situ conservation is the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties.

In-situ conservation includes- national parks, sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, community reserves, and sacred groves.

Read more: EX SITU, IN SITU CONSERVATION by Nigel Maxted, University of Birmingham

As per the Envis Centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas, as of 2021, there are 106 National Parks, 564 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 218 Community Reserves, and 99 Conservation Reserves with a total of 1,73,053.69 km2 area under protected areas which is almost 5.26% area of the country. 

And ex-situ conservation is the conservation of the components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. A chapter from Wildlife conservation in Africa explains ex-situ conservation as, the relocation of endangered or rare species from their natural habitats to protected areas equipped for their protection and preservation.

Also Read:  How rare earth metals found in Sweden can affect biodiversity?

Read more: CHAPTER 9 Principles for the management of protected areas

This method is an alternative strategy when in-situ conservation is inadequate, ex-situ conservation includes- zoological parks, botanical gardens, wildlife safari parks, gene banks, germplasm banks, and seed banks. 

Read more: Protected Areas-Subject Area: Wildlife Institute of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests

The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Delhi is primarily responsible for the conservation of unique accessories on a long-term basis, as base collections for posterity, predominantly in the form of seeds. The Botanical Survey of India has 13 botanical gardens conserving approximately 7,285 species of plants such as Orchids, Nepenthes, Insectivorous plants, Endemic and threatened plants, etc.

Conclusion

The loss of biodiversity on Earth is a result of unsustainable rates of resource use brought on by continued human population increase. Habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation, and pollution are the main causes of biodiversity loss.

Read more: IUCN Red List

According to the IUCN red list, more than 42,100 species are threatened with extinction which is 28% of all assessed species. Hence, it is very necessary to conserve resources and wildlife to protect the biodiversity of the planet.

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