Ecopatches – New Concept for Ecological Conservation

Expanding urban areas, urbanization of rural areas, human pressure on forests are the challenges in ecological conservation, posing threat of extinction of several species of flora and fauna.The threat is already looming large, in that while the rate of extinction increases year after year, conservation efforts are at a meagre minimum.

Though, the scientific community has documented a majority of species there are several other species which have not been studied or missed the attention. More than the species study and their individual ecologies, the complex ecological relations among the flora and fauna can never be completely understood and we did precious little in this regard. The broad based food chains or webs, do not give an answer as to the roles played by a mix of flora and fauna.

In this scenario, we cannot afford to loose the yet unknown species! This is more so in view of the tremendous opportunities for regions of diversity with the onset of biotechnology. Who knows, if an already extinct species of plant or animal was a source of some thing wonderful that can prevent AIDS? Who knows what new diseases are going to affect us? Doubtless we can say that the present day scientific achievement is it can extract reasons after something happens, but cannot predict an entirely new thing.But we can use our limited achievements, atleast in conservation of nature wherever possible.

It is in this context, that the concept of ecopatches came to my mind.This ecopatch concept if implemented will preserve several native flora and fauna and the interrelationships among these.

Every city, town and village how much ever developed in the last 200 years, will have some area left over representing the native vegetation and soil.Such places can range from very small to large areas. If the area is large enough, a measured area of the place needs to be conserved by supplementing the apparently missing species of plants and animals recorded previously in ecological studies. (Of course it’s not possible to bring in large animals, which are already accommodated in reserve forests and national parks).If the areaa is too small, then the vegetation, soil etc be collected from such scattered places and have to be regenerated in a new designated area with in / vicinity of city or town or village.For example, if the city is like a concrete jungle, one has to search for places near drains, or unused public places, private lands where the native vegetation with plants, grasses etc can be found surviving.Such vegetation, normally supports the fauna like earthworms, insects, microorganisms, algae etc.Vegetaion along with soil from such places has to be collected for developing a larger area , that represents the lost ecology of that particular area.Finding the lost tree species of that particular area will not be difficult, as these have been recorded already and are popularly known to the local people.Seeds from the existing trees can be sourced for planting or in extreme cases where the earstwhile native tree is not found in that area, seeds or saplings of such trees can be easily sourced from the forest nurseries or near by areas.

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