Biodiversity is the diverse variety of life on Earth at all its levels from genes to ecosystems and encompasses the evolutionary, ecological and cultural processes that sustain life. Biodiversity is considered to have intrinsic value which means, each species has a value and a right to exist, whether or not it is known to have value to humans.
Biodiversity is important to humans for many reasons. The biodiversity book by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) describes 5 core and interacting values that human place on biodiversity:
- Economic – Biodiversity provides humans with raw materials for consumption and production. Many livelihoods, such as those of farmers, fishers and timber workers are dependent on biodiversity.
- Ecological Life Support – Biodiversity provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination for plants, pest control, waste water treatment and many ecosystem services.
- Recreation – Many recreational pursuits rely on our unique biodiversity such as bird watching, hiking, camping and fishing. Our tourism industry also depends on biodiversity.
- Scientific – Biodiversity represents a wealth of systematic ecological data that help us to understand the natural world and its origin.
- Cultural – Biodiversity is the intersection of human culture and the biodiversity around them. Many symbols, rituals and beliefs are derived or inspired by the biodiversity which signifies the deep relation of humans with the biodiversity.
Agriculture is one of the major threat to biodiversity. The ever expanding agriculture land is the major cause of shrinking forests. The pressure on agriculture due to huge population is complicating the matter further.
The agriculture scenario in Uttarakhand is altogether different. The agriculture is being shunned due to lack of basic facilities (health, education and employment) related migration.
Our objective is to first to create income generation opportunities in agriculture sector along with various biodiversity conservation related activities integrated with agriculture like encouragement to organic farming, agroforestry, vermicomposting etc. This integration will create interdependency between biodiversity and agriculture with helping in income generation.