Biodiversity Conservation In Punjab Key Initiatives

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Punjab ENVIS Newsletter
Vol 19, No. 1 (2021-2022)
ISSN No. 2347-2960
Biodiversity Conservation In Punjab Key Initiatives
Status of Environment & Related Issues
Sponsored by : Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India

The Earth's biological resources are vital to humanity's economic and social development. They are an important foundation for a sustainable society. As a result, there is a growing global consensus that the biological diversity is an asset of tremendous value to present and future generations. Over the years, the pollution, climate change and population growth are threats to species and ecosystems and has led to unprecedented rise in the rate of species extinction.
In response, many international, national & regional steps are being taken and one of the major was the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD was signed on 5 June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the Rio "Earth Summit") for inspiring by the world community's growing commitment to sustainable development. The Convention is considered as the international legal instrument representing a spectacular step forward in the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Currently, the declaration by the United Nations of 2021–30 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is drawing worldwide attention to the challenge of restoring natural ecosystems that have been degraded or converted.
India is one of the world's 'mega diversity' countries and is ranked ninth in the world in terms of higher plant species richness., India is also well-endowed at the ecosystem level with a rich history of conservation movements, which speak of the value people place on nature and biodiversity. As a party to CBD, India endeavours to meet its international obligations and commitments and has a resolute conviction in the conservation of biodiversity as a national priority and recognizes its crucial linkages with the livelihoods and well-being of millions of people.
In view of above, the current issue of Newsletter summarizes the major initiatives being undertaken for conservation and protection of biodiversity within the state. It is hoped that it will motivate for taking more fore-front actions/steps towards the restoration of state biodiversity with collective ambition and willingness.

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Editorial Team

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Punjab ENVIS Hub Punjab State Council for Science & Technology,
Chandigarh, INDIA
Sponsored by Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change,
Government of India

We are thankful to Punjab Biodiversity Board team (Mr. Gurharminder Singh, Principal Scientic Ofcer, Dr. Sangeeta,
Scientist, Dr. Gagandeep Singh, Technical Ofcer, and Mr. Praveen Kumar, Technical
Ofcer) for providing the valuable inputs during the development of this article

Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora Er. Pritpal Singh
Ms. Ravleen Singh Mr. Dhirendra Chauhan
Ms. Ajaybeer Kaur
Assistance Ms. Promila Devi

Punjab ENVIS Hub Punjab State Council for Science
& Technology, MGSIPA Complex, Institutional Area, Sector 26, Chandigarh – 160 019
Phones: 0172-2792325, 2795001
Fax: 0172-2793143 Email: [email protected]


Biodiversity is the variety of different types of life found on earth. It includes diversity at three levels: Gene c Diversity (within species), Species Diversity (between species) and ecosystem diversity (between ecosystems). This diversity of living creatures forms a support system which has been used by each civiliza on for its growth and development. As per Conven on on Biological Diversity (CBD), Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aqua c ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.
It is cri cal to our survival and economic prosperity and provides the basic goods and services for human society to exist and secure economic and social development. Biological resources are essen al for maintaining the basic life processes as they not only provide food, medicine and products of commercial and noncommercial use, but also provide various environmental services.
India is known for its rich heritage of biological diversity, having already documented over 1,01,167 species of fauna and 47,485 species of flora represen ng about 8% of globally known floral and faunal species (6.7% of the world

fauna and 11.2% the world flora) within just 2.4% of the world's land area (Implementa on of India's Na onal Biodiversity Ac on Plan-An overview 2019). India is at the 8th posi on in the world in terms of total biodiversity owing to its large landmass covering a range of ecosystems and India is one of the 17 mega bio-diverse countries of the world.
India has made sustained efforts in fulfilling its commitments towards conserva on of biodiversity, its sustainable use and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological resources associated tradi onal knowledge. In pursuance to its obliga on and commitment to the CBD of UN adopted at Earth Summit in 1992, India being a party to CBD and enacted the Biological Diversity Act (BD Act), 2002 to implement the provisions of the Conven on. The BD Act, 2002 is aimed at conserva on & sustainable use of biological resources and fair & equitable sharing of benefit of arising from commercial use of biological resources and associated tradi onal knowledge.


Box 1. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29th December 1993. It was signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and since then more than 175 countries have ratified the agreement. The CBD is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. It has 3 main objectives:
1. The conservation of biological diversity 2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity 3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of
genetic resources
The Convention has created a global forum – actually a series of meetings – where governments, non-governmental organizations, academics, the private sector, and other interested groups or individuals share ideas and compare strategies. The Convention’s ultimate authority is the Conference of the Parties (COP), consisting of all governments (and regional economic integration organizations) that have ratified the treaty.

In response to ac ons required to be taken up under the Conven on and being the party of United Na on’s CBD, Govt. of India enacted the BD Act in 2002. Subsequently, Biological Diversity Rules were no fied in 2004 to spell out procedures and mechanisms for the implementa on of the BD Act, 2002 throughout the na on. India is a forerunner in bringing out such umbrella legisla ons with the objec ve of protec ng the country’s rich biodiversity

& associated Tradi onal Knowledge. The BD Act, 2002 is implemented through a three- er ins tu onal mechanism throughout the na on:
• Na onal Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Chennai at Na onal Level
• State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs), at State Level
• Biodiversity Management Commi ees (District, Block, Village & Urban Local Bodies) at local Level


Biodiversity Prole of Punjab
Punjab is predominantly an agrarian state (also known as food bowl of India) having:
• Dominant cropland ecosystem with 83% area under agriculture • 6.83% of its total geographic area under forest (3.67%) and tree cover (3.16%) as per
recent India State of Forest Report, 2019 • Six wetlands (Harike Lake, Ropar Lake, Kanjli Lake, Keshopur Miani Community
Reserve, Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary and Beas Conserva on Reserve) of Interna onal importance (Ramsar sites) • Large number of flora and fauna recorded from forests, agricultural areas & wetlands • Rich crop and domes cated animal diversity • Shivalik area comprising of sub-mountainous zone and undula ng land below the hills in the districts of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Ropar • Protected areas as under:

Protected Area

Total Number

Wild life Sanctuaries


Ramsar Sites


Botanical Gardens


Zoological Parks


Deer Park


Community Reserves


Source: Sta s cal Abstract of Punjab, 2020

• Taxonomic diversity as under:

FAUNAL SPECIES Platyhelminthes Phylum Protozoa
Nematoda Annelida Arthropoda Mollusca
Pisces Amphibia Rep lia



41 84 157 34 1147 85 113 15 35 442 43 2,196

FLORAL SPECIES Algae Fungi Lichens
Bryophytes Pteridophytes Gymnosperms Angiosperms TOTAL FLORAL SPECIES


371 560 21 29 30 21 1939 2,971

Source: Biodiversity in the Shivalik Ecosystem of Punjab, 2006, EnviStats India, 2020

Biodiversity related Initiatives

1. Cons tu on of Punjab Biodiversity

Board (PBB): Taking cognizance of the

provisions of the BD Act, 2002 , and to deal

with the management of biological

resources of the State, Govt. of Punjab

established Punjab Biodiversity Board as a

statutory body u/s 22 of BD Act, 2002 in

2004. The main objec ves of the Board are

to promote conserva on & sustainable use

of biological resources and to ensure fair

and equitable sharing of benefit arising out

of commercial u liza on of biological

resources in the state. Board is func oning

from the O/o Punjab State Council for

Science & Technology, Chandigarh under

the administra ve control of Department of

Science, Technology & Environment, Govt.

of Punjab. Further, Govt. of Punjab vide

no fica on


G.S.R.78/C.A.18/2003/S.63/2016 dated 11th Nov. 2016 no fied Punjab Biological

Diversity Rules. The major mandate of the

Board is as under:

• Advise the State Govt. and provide technical assistance on ma ers related to conserva on & sustainable u liza on of biological resources.
• Facilitate se ng up of Biodiversity Management Commi ees (BMCs) and prepara on of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) at District/Block/Village and ULBs level
• Regulate access to biological resources for commercial u liza on.
• Iden fy and take steps to promote conserva on of ‘Biodiversity Heritage Sites’ and rehabilitate threatened flora and fauna of the State.

• Create awareness & undertake capacity building ac vi es on biodiversity related issues.
2. Cons tu on of BMCs and Prepara on of PBRs: As per Sec on 41 of the BD Act, 2002 and Rule 22 of the Biological Diversity Rules, 2004, every Local Body (District, Block, Village and ULB) is required to cons tute BMC for promo ng conserva on and sustainable use of biological resources and prepara on of PBRs for the documenta on of local flora & fauna and associated TK within its jurisdic on.
PBR is a Dynamic Document prepared by the Concerned BMCs with the technical support of Board, Local bodies and TSGs (Technical Support Groups) in the prescribed template. Board prepared 53 Model PBRs with ac ve involvement of District Administra ons and BMCs as per prescribed Guidelines and financial support of NBA, GoI. Subsequently, PBB facilitated 100% cons tu on of BMCs and prepara on of PBRs at the level of all local bodies throughout the State as under:

Level District Block Village ULBs

BMCs Constituted 22 150 13260 167

PBRs Prepared 22 150 13260 167

Source: Punjab Biodiversity Board, 2021


BMCs constitution and PBRs preparation Activities
Glimpses of Model PBRs 3. No fied Threatened Flora and Fauna of Punjab: As per the Sec on 38 of the BD Act, 2002, Govt. of India, in consulta on with the concerned State Govt. may no fy any species which is on the verge of ex nc on or likely to become ex nct in the near future as a Threatened Species. MoEFCC, Govt of India has no fied 13 species (8 Floral and 5 faunal species) as threatened species of Punjab which are on the verge of ex nc on in the state.

List of No fied Threatened Species of Punjab

Threatened Floral Species


Tecomella undulata (Sm.) Seem


Withania coagulans (Stocks) Dunal


Anogeissus sericea Brandis var. nummularia King ex Duthie


Alysicarpus bupleuurifolius (L.) DC var. hybridus DC


Hibiscus hoshiarpurensis T.K. Paul & M.P. Nayar


Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb. Var. lushii (J. Graham) Hook.f [= Ceropegia lushii (J. Graham)]


Ophioglossum gramineum Willd


Ophioglossum polyphyllum A. Braun ex. Seub

Threatened Faunal Species


Plantista gangetica ssp minor


Gyps bengalensis Gmelin, 1788


Grus antigone Linnaeus, 1758


Python molurus Linnaeus, 1758


Pangshura tecta Gray, 1830

Source: MoEFCC, GoI 2014

Some Threatened Floral and Faunal Species of Punjab

Tecomella Undulata

Grus An gone

Gyps Benagalensis

Pangshura Tecta

Plan sta Gange ca

Python Molurus


4. State Symbols: Govt. of Punjab has no fied the following Flora & Fauna as State Symbols to create awareness and promote their conserva on:

State Symbols

Scientific Name

State Tree State Animal State Bird State Aquatic Animal

Dalbergia sissoo Antelope cervicapra L. Accipiter gentilis Platanista gangetica minor

Vernacular Name
Tahli/ Shisham Kala Hiran /Black Buck Baaz/ Northern gowshak Indus River Dolphin

5. Iden fica on of Biodiversity Rich Areas (Poten al Biodiversity heritage Sites): Punjab Biodiversity Board has been making consistent efforts for iden fica on of biodiversity rich sites located outside Protected Area Network of the State to promote their conserva on & management as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHSs) u/s 37 of the BD Act, 2002. BHSs are well defined areas that are unique ecologically fragile ecosystems-terrestrial, freshwater or marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the components such as; species richness, high endemism, presence of rare, endemic and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolu onary significance, wild ancestors of domes c/cul vated species or land races or their varie es, past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and having cultural or aesthe c values and are important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human associa on with them. (Source: NBA, India)
Box 2. Significance and objec ves of Biodiversity Heritage Sites
To strengthen the biodiversity conserva on in tradi onally managed areas and to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity in intensively managed areas, such areas need special a en on. To have a BHS in or around a community should be a ma er of pride and honour to such community and this virtuous act of community shall work as an example to the en re na on apart from ensuring availability of the resources to their own future genera on. It is necessary to ins l and nurture conserva on ethics in all sec ons of the society. The crea on of BHS will ensure bringing home these values in the society and thereby put an end to over exploita on of natural resources and avoid environmental degrada on. The crea on of BHS shall not put any restric on on the prevailing prac ces and usages of the local communi es, other than those voluntarily decided by them. The purpose is to enhance the quality of life of the local communi es through this conserva on measure.

PBB in consulta on with concerned local bodies has iden fied the following biodiversity rich sites outside the protected area network having the poten al to be declared as BHSs:

• Kaya Kalp Vriksh village Chol Kheri, District Fatehgarh Sahib: The Kaya Kalp Vriksh a great banyan tree (Ficus bengalensis) located at village Chol Kheri, Block Khera, District Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab. The sprawling canopy of the tree spreads to 2 acres approx. on private land and resembles a small forest as its many aerial roots have now become stems. According to locals, great banyan is a few hundred years old and known as ‘Kaya Kalp Vriksh`(transforma on). The local belief is that nobody can stop the relentless spread of the tree. As the tree is surrounded by private land, the adjoining land owners not dare to cut any branch which may grow and cover their land. It is believed that any person in the past who tried to stop the spread of the tree had to face grave misfortunes. The usage of waste wood or fallen leaves of the tree is also considered equally unpropi ous. People of the surrounding villages believe that the tree has unique healing and medicinal power, therefore, people suffering from different ailments visit this place to spend some me under its shade in order to get cured. A fair is organized by local people annually under its shade on 15th February to worship the

divine powers of Great Banyan of Punjab. The tree has created its own unique eco system in the area as it supports large number of birds such as peacock, mayna, parrot, crow, owl, egret, etc. and many insect species. The site has a tourism and heritage poten al as it a racts many visitors including people from nearby areas, students' groups, tourists and the spiritually inclined. Though great banyan tree con nues to grow undisturbed, however, it needs to be conserved from the vagaries of me, weather and human behaviour. The under canopy of tree is habitat to many other floral species such as Capparis decidua, Calatropis procera, Ziziphus nummularia, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Dalbergia sissoo, Acacia nilo ca, Ficus religiosa, Euphorbia nivulia, Salvadora oleoides, Phoenix sylvestris, Argemone mexicana, Ageratum conyzoides, Desmostachya bipinnate, Cassia tora, Cleome viscosa, Crotolaria sp., Euphorbia hirta, Croton bonplandianum, Leucas sp., Spergularia sp., Vicia sp., Lantana camara, Parthenium hysterophorus.

Kaya Kalp Vriksh: Great Banyan Tree 10

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Biodiversity Conservation In Punjab Key Initiatives