They are some ways we can help conserve biodiversity, they include the ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity. These are very necessary for our survival in this century. Of a truth, many of the critical species we have in our ecosystem are endangered hence the need for conserving biodiversity.
Biodiversity is a term that describes the variety and variability of life on the planet Earth. The phrase biodiversity typically refers to the process of determining genetic, species, and ecosystem variation. Biodiversity is critical to the ecosystem’s health. Changes in biodiversity are caused by the following factors:
We must all work to preserve biodiversity since it leads to the preservation of critical ecological diversity, which is necessary for food chain continuance. Ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity are two ways used to preserve a range of live species around the world.
The establishment and administration of protected areas, as well as related research institutes or academic institutions that establish and administer arboreta, botanical or zoological gardens, tissue culture, and gene banks, are all part of the conservation efforts, whether ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity.
Of ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity, in-situ Conservation protects endangered species against their predators. Ex-situ Conservation protects against all harmful factors. Both ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity are unique and important in their ways. Ex-situ conservation is fundamentally distinct from in situ conservation; nonetheless, both are critical complementary techniques for biodiversity conservation.
What is In-situ Conservation of Biodiversity?
It refers to the methods for conserving all living species in their natural habitats and environments, particularly wild and endangered species. Wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, sanctuaries, natural reserves, biosphere reserves, sacred grooves, and so on are examples of in-situ biodiversity conservation. The most appropriate method of maintaining biodiversity is in-situ conservation, or the preservation of species in their natural environments.
The preservation of places where natural populations of species persist is a prerequisite for biodiversity conservation. In situ conservation refers to the preservation of ecosystems and natural habitats, as well as the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural environments, or, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the environments where their distinctive properties have developed.
What is Ex-situ Conservation of Biodiversity?
Ex-situ conservation refers to the preservation of biological diversity at all levels outside of natural ecosystems through strategies such as zoos, captive breeding, aquariums, botanical gardens, and gene banks. It is critical in conveying issues, generating awareness, and securing widespread public and political support for conservation measures and captive breeding of endangered species for reintroduction.
Ex-situ conservation’s drawbacks include the preservation of creatures in artificial habitats, the loss of genetic diversity, inbreeding depression, captivity adaptations, and the accumulation of harmful alleles. It is constrained by some factors, including staff, expenses, and dependency on electric power sources. It refers to the ways of preserving all live species in artistic habitats that mirror their natural living environments. Aquariums, botanical gardens, cryopreservation, DNA banks, and zoos are examples of ex-situ biodiversity protection.
Ex-situ conservation refers to the preservation of biological diversity components outside of their natural settings. Ex-situ conservation involves the maintenance and breeding of endangered plants and animals under partially or wholly controlled conditions in specific areas including zoos, gardens, nurseries, etc.
Difference between Ex-situ and In-situ Conservation of Biodiversity
The main difference (and thus the complementaries) between ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity is that ex-situ conservation entails the preservation of genetic materials outside of the “normal” environment in which the species evolved, to preserve the genetic integrity of the material at the time of collection, whereas in situ conservation (the maintenance of viable populations in their natural surroundings) is a dynamic system that allows the biological resurgence of the species. Other differences include.
- In-situ conservation refers to the preservation of biodiversity within natural settings whereas ex-situ conservation refers to the preservation of biological diversity outside of natural environments.
- On-site conservation is referred to as in-situ conservation, and off-site conservation is referred to as ex-situ conservation.
- In-situ conservation is concerned with creatures’ natural environments while ex-situ conservation is concerned with man-made habitats.
- In-situ conservation is appropriate for animals that are abundantly found in the wild while ex-situ conservation is appropriate for creatures that are not abundantly found in the wild.
- In-situ conservation is not appropriate when a species’ population is rapidly declining owing to any factor, whereas ex-situ conservation is the best alternative when a species’ population is rapidly declining due to any circumstance.
- In-situ conservation can be used to save wildlife and cattle while ex-situ conservation can be used to save crops and their wild cousins.
- In-situ conservation helps to sustain the naturally ongoing processes of evolution and adaptation within the natural habitats of all species while ex-situ conservation separates animals from their naturally ongoing processes of evolution and adaptation inside their native habitats.
- In-situ conservation tries to allow biodiversity to persist within the context of the ecosystem, whereas ex-situ conservation entails the preservation of genetic variation (Genetic Conservation) away from its original place.
- In-situ conservation establishes a protected area network with appropriate management practices, corridors to link fragments to restore degraded habitats within and outside, whereas ex-situ conservation establishes botanical and zoological gardens, conservation stands; banks of germplasm, pollen, seed, seedling, tissue culture, gene, and DNA.
- In-situ conservation entails reducing biotic pressure and restoration, whereas ex-situ conservation identifies and rehabilitates threatened species while ex-situ conservation identifies and rehabilitates threatened species; initiated augmentation, reintroduction, or introduction projects.
- In-situ conservation aids in the multiplication of species through the process of evolution and adaption while ex-situ conservation improves the chances of reproductive success for endangered species.
- Because of the wide habitat area, in-situ conservation provides higher mobility to animal species, but ex-situ conservation provides less mobility to the organism due to the tiny habitat space.
- In-situ conservation comprises the designation, management, and monitoring of the target species while ex-situ conservation entails sampling, storage, and transfer of target species from their natural habitats to man-made habitats.
- Protected places in in-situ conservation are sanctuaries and national parks, whereas, in ex-situ conservation, artificial circumstances are established to make their ecosystem look almost natural.
- National parks, biosphere reserves, parks, and sanctuaries are examples of in-situ conservation, while zoos, aquariums, seed banks, and botanical gardens are instances of ex-situ conservation.
There are some examples of ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity and these examples of ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity can be known as methods of ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity.
In-situ Conservation Examples
Some examples of in-situ conservation include
1. Biosphere Reserve
Biosphere reserves include vast swaths of land, frequently exceeding 5000 km2. For a long time, they have been employed to safeguard species.
2. National parks
A national park is a protected area where wildlife and the environment are protected. A national park is a protected place where the scenery and natural and historical things are preserved. It’s usually a modest reserve of roughly 100 to 500 square kilometres in size. One or more national parks may exist within biosphere reserves.
3. Wildlife sanctuaries
A wildlife sanctuary is a protected area dedicated solely to animal conservation.
4. Gene Sanctuary
A gene sanctuary is a protected place for plants. Both biosphere reserves and national parks are included. In the Garo Hills of Meghalaya, India has established its first gene sanctuary for wild citrus relatives. Efforts are also being made to establish banana, sugarcane, rice, and mango gene sanctuaries.
5. Community Reserves
It’s a sort of protected area created by the Wildlife Protection Amendment Act of 2002 to give legal protection to the community or privately held reserves that aren’t national parks or wildlife refuges.
6. Sacred Groves
Sacred groves are designated areas of forest where all trees and fauna are revered and given complete protection.
Ex-situ Conservation Examples
Some examples of ex-situ conservation include
1. National Parks
These are protected areas that are maintained by the government. A national park’s limits are clearly defined. Human activities such as livestock grazing, timber harvesting, and cultivation are normally restricted within the park. National parks can be visited by tourists who want to see the animals.
2. Wildlife Sanctuaries
National parks are smaller than wildlife sanctuaries. They may not have distinct limits so that animals can freely travel around without being constrained to a certain place. Human activity is permitted in these areas as long as it does not obstruct the conservation project. Wildlife sanctuaries are open to visitors. Animal sanctuaries can also refer to sites that are utilized to rehabilitate abandoned or ailing animals in some regions. Unlike wildlife sanctuaries, which have no physical borders, these sanctuaries are enclosed areas.
3. Biosphere Reserves
A biosphere reserve is a huge area of land where animal and plant species are protected. Furthermore, these areas safeguard indigenous human communities. These projects are less in number, but they have a bigger influence on our conservation efforts. Because biosphere reserves idealize the relationship between plants, animals, and humans, this is the case.
Both ex-situ and in-situ conservation of biodiversity is of premium importance to human survival
Importance of In-situ Conservation
1. It conserves the species and its habitat
In-situ conservation has the advantage of preserving the complete ecosystem rather than just a single species. As a result, environmentalists believe it is more effective. You are not only assisting the species’ survival, but you are also assisting the ecosystem in which they thrive.
2. Useful in conserving large populations of a species
Breeding and maintaining organisms outside of their home ecosystems are examples of ex situ conservation approaches. This may be beneficial to endangered species. However, it prevents vast populations of a species from thriving. This challenge is better addressed via in situ conservation. Furthermore, in situ conservation allows you to conserve multiple species at the same time.
3. It’s a less obtrusive way of conserving resources.
Animals can evolve spontaneously and are more sensitive to natural hazards when they are in their original habitat. These abilities include the ability to coexist with predators and respond quickly to phenological changes. Ex-situ conservation species may not have the same ability to adapt to a new environment as in-situ conservation species. When they are restored to their normal habitat, they may take a long time to recuperate.
4. It is a low-cost conservation strategy.
Governments and conservation organizations strive to use cost-effective methods. In situ conservation is more cost-effective because it helps save more species.
Importance of Ex-situ Conservation
1. Protection from predation and poaching
Ex-situ conservation animals live in extremely safe environments. It’s possible that the environment was created intentionally to resemble a natural ecology. However, it is devoid of predators and poaching.
2. Monitoring the health of organisms is easy
For tiny populations, ex-situ conservation measures are mainly viable. This makes it simple to keep track of the organisms’ health. If any disease or illness develops among the animal species, it may be treated swiftly. This is beneficial to animals living in an ex-situ conservation setting. In situ conservation efforts are primarily focused on preventing predation and poaching of animal and plant species. Individual health may not be tracked, but the species’ overall health may be.
3. Selective breeding
Breeding programs can help an animal or plant species improve its quality. Selective breeding decreases the chance of inbreeding, which some in situ conservationists may be concerned about. This form of breeding allows humans to intervene in an organism’s reproduction process. Gene and sperm banks can be used to get reproductive material. These might then be used to inseminate an animal species artificially.
4. Animals can be saved in the event of a natural disaster
Natural disasters have the potential to wipe out vital organisms in disaster-stricken areas. It’s possible that in-situ conservation initiatives won’t be able to quickly initiate rescue operations. On the other hand, ex-situ conservation areas are better prepared to deal with natural disasters.
5. Endangered animals can be bred to increase their population
Endangered animals have an extremely tiny population globally. It is desirable to preserve species in protected regions when they are on the verge of extinction. Ex-situ conservation is therefore excellent for such animals on the verge of extinction. To repopulate the species, eggs from the last white rhino, Sudan, who died in 2018, will be used.
6. Research to understand an animal or plant species
Ex-situ conservation techniques are useful for allowing researchers to observe animal species more carefully. In other contexts where animals are allowed to roam, this may be more challenging.
Examples of Ex-situ and In-situ Conservation of Biodiversity – FAQs
What are the In-situ Conservation Methods?
The method of in-situ conservation is to protect species and their natural habitats so that they can survive in their natural state. It is the preservation of a living organism in its natural environment, and it is the only type of conservation that permits a species to continue to evolve and adapt. The primary benefit of in situ conservation is that species and habitats are not harmed. Biosphere reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biodiversity hotspots, gene sanctuaries, and sacred groves are examples of in-situ conservation methods.
What are the Ex-situ Conservation Methods?
The storing of seeds, pollen, tissue, or embryos in liquid nitrogen is known as plant cryopreservation. In comparison to all other methods of ex situ conservation, this method allows for almost endless storage of material without deterioration over a far longer period.
Seeds are kept in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. For taxa with orthodox seeds that tolerate desiccation, this approach is applied. Seed banks have a variety of storage options, ranging from sealed boxes to climate-controlled walk-in freezers or vaults.
Field Gene Banking
A large-scale open-air planting is used to preserve the genetic variety of wild, agricultural, or forestry plants. Field gene banks typically conserve species that are difficult or impossible to conserve in seed banks. Other ex-situ procedures can also be employed to cultivate and select progeny of species maintained in field gene banks.
Plants in a horticulturally cared-for setting, such as a botanic garden or arboreta. Plants are kept in the natural environment, comparable to a field gene bank, but the collections are often not as genetically diverse or vast.
Plants are cared for by horticulturists, but the setting is kept as close to natural as possible. This can happen in either restored or semi-natural settings. This method is most commonly utilized for uncommon taxa or in places where habitat has been substantially damaged.
Tissue Culture (Storage and Propagation)
In vitro storage of somatic tissue is possible for brief periods. This is carried out in a light and temperature-controlled environment that controls cell development. Tissue culture is mostly utilized for clonal growth of vegetative tissue or immature seeds as an ex-situ conservation strategy.