Topological and Nontopological conservation

Topological & Non-Topological Conservation


Conservation – shape and structure of networks of interacting organisms in ecological systems

In-Situ Conservation


Protect whole ecosystem at all levels to protect threatened species (save entire forest to save tiger)

Hot Spots – High endemism & high species richness (in India – Western Ghats (Agasthyamalai hills, Silent valley, Amambalam reserve) & Sri Lanka, Indo-Burma (NE India) – angiosperms, Sundalands (Nicobar Is.) & Himalaya – (dicot species) – cover less than 2% area with 44% species – if conserved extinction with decline by 30%

4 factors that determine hotspots

Degree of endemism

Degree of exploitation

Degree of threat to habitat due to degradation and fragmentation

Number of species or species diversity

 Protected Areas – biological diversity along with natural and cultural resource is protected – worldwide 37,000 areas with India having around 651 (4.7% compared to 10% internationally) Maintain diversity, native population, resilience in species and exotic species

National Parks – by government and for betterment of wildlife –cultivation, grazing, forestry not allowed; private ownership not allowed, boundary is demarcated – around 100 in India covering 1.1% area – Some as heritage sites like Kaziranga, Keoladeo, Manas

Sanctuaries – tracts of land where fauna takes refuge without being hunted – forest activity, grazing and cultivation is permitted; private ownership is allowed but boundary is not well demarcated.

Biosphere Reserves – preserve genetic diversity by protecting wild population, tribals and domestication – initiated in 175 under MAB (UNESCO) – India has 18 of 669 in world (2016)

4 of these are part of heritage sites – Nanda Devi, Sunderbans, Niligiris and Gulf of Mannar (also as national parks)

3 zones:

Core – no human activity, undisturbed and legally protected

 Buffer – limited human activity for research and education

Transition (Manipulation) – outermost or periphery – settlement, cropping, recreation

Aim – restoration, conservation, development, monitoring, education and research.

MAB (Man & Biosphere) Program started in 1971 & in India in 1986 – human environment, impact of human interference, conservation strategies and pollution.

Ramsar Sites

Wetlands – Low lying marshy areas filled with rain due to rain off

1st international convention as held in Ramsar, Iran in 1971

Help to recharge

Recharge groundwater

Protection from floods

Fresh water wetlands over land & saltwater over estuaries and mangroves.

Sacred Forests – temples built by tribals in deodar forest in Kumaon; Jaintia & Khasi in Meghalaya; Sarguja, Chanda & Bastar in Chattisgarh; Aravallis in Rajasthan

Aquatic sacred areas – Khecheopalri (Sikkim)

Bishnois protect Prosopis cineraria & Black Buck


Ex-Situ Conservation

Conservation of plants and animals outside their natural homes

Offsite Collections – 1500 botanical gardens and 800 zoological gardens – captive breeding program (species with less number of individuals – when number increases they are released in wild) – restock depleted population, reintroduce species in wild and restore degraded habitats

Gene Banks – stock of viable seeds, live growing plants, tissue culture and frozen germplasm

  • Seed banks – orthodox seeds (tolerate reduction in moisture, low anaerobic conditions & low temperature for prolonged period) and recalcitrant seeds (killed on reduction of moisture or temperature like jackfruit, cocoa, tea and coconut)


  • Orchards – Plants with recalcitrant seeds are grown in orchards where all possible strains are maintained – litchi, oil palm



  • Tissue Culture – callus, embryoid, pollen grain culture, shoot tip culture for seedless plants, recalcitrant seeds, variable seed progeny or clones to be maintained – banana, potato.


  • Cryopreservation – preservation at -196 ℃ (liquid nitrogen)