As a State blessed with a rich variety of flora and fauna spread across different ecosystems, Kerala also faces daunting challenges and conflicts in sustainable management of its biological resources.
The demands and pulls of conservation faced by the State have been highlighted in a book titled ‘Biodiversity Richness of Kerala’ prepared by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board.
While documenting biodiversity, the work also outlines the threats posed by various factors ranging from land use changes and invasive alien species to climate change and sea-level rise.
Organised into eight chapters, the book explores the rich species diversity, ecosystem diversity, and genetic diversity in terrestrial, inland and marine ecosystems in the State and the approaches adopted for conservation of the natural landscape and endangered species.
Authored by KSBB Member Secretary K.P. Laladhas, Chairman Oommen V. Oommen, and Techncial Associate Preetha N., the book was prepared with inputs from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Zoological Survey of India, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, and Indian Institute of Spices Research.
Embellished with pictures, maps and tables, it lists the terrestrial and marine biodiversity and various ecosystems in Kerala, the protected areas in the State as well as the agrobiodiversity, endangered species, and biodiversity legislations and trade in bio resources. Highlighting the biodiversity threats and conservation concerns faced by the State, the authors argue for a people-inclusive biodiversity management system, with the focus on a landscape-centric approach. They stress the need to establish biodiversity heritage sites in ecologically ecologically important areas and maintain them with people’s participation. “Conservation of biodiversity requires a code of conduct to ensure that people dependent on bioresources ultimately obtain better livelihood from conservation than from degradation of the resource,” it says.
The book identifies land use change as a key driver of biodiversity loss in Kerala. According to the book, habitat loss and urbanisation in the State have led to conversion of forests, paddy fields and wetlands, encroachments, forest fire and pollution of waterbodies.