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Maintaining nature’s toolbox

Biological diversity is Mother Nature’s toolbox. The variance of plants, insects, birds and animals increases the likelihood that nature will find a way out of trouble. That is, if we do not throw away the toolbox first. Indian and Norwegian researchers are now finding ways of maintaining the toolbox.

Biodiversity is important to avoid disasters. In recent years, beekeepers have sound the alarm after seeing whole bee populations die off at a pace. Scientists later linked their deaths to the use of pesticides and certain parasites. The use of honeybees for pollination of other crops have left us vulnerable to food shortages if the bees were to die out. Maybe we could have avoided this looming disaster if biodiversity had been maintained; perhaps certain wild bees would prove more resilient to the parasites that the domesticated honeybees? It is hard to know what is in Mother Nature’s toolbox, but throwing it away will definitely leave us more vulnerable when we need a hammer to hit the nail on the head.

India is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Thousands upon thousands of species have found their place in Indian ecosystems. However, the number of species under threat is increasing. Overall, India was recently ranked as one of the worst performing countries on protecting the environment in the world on the Environmental Performance Index. This needs to change in order to maintain the biodiversity in the country.

There is no silver bullet for conserving biodiversity. Everyone in society relating to nature will have to make sure that their actions does not cause erectable harm. The consideration for biodiversity will have to be integrated into all sectors and across sectors. Norway and India have been working together to develop suggestions on how to mainstream considerations for biodiversity into government policies.

For more than three years, The Centre for Biodiversity and Policy Laws in India (CEBPOL) have collaborated with Norwegian partners Fridtjof Nansen Institute, The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre (NBIC) on a range of topics related to biodiversity.

CEBPOL informed the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi about the progress of their collaboration at a seminar Friday 2 February. The collaborators expect to deliver two reports on mainstreaming biodiversity to the Indian government this summer.