India’s biodiversity feeds its people, enhances their health security, and shields them from environmental disasters, including calamities associated with climate change. Biodiversity has also been a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being. As people, and as a nation, we owe our unique identity to our biocultural diversity.
The neglect of biodiversity science in universities and research institutions is apparent. In most of our academic institutions, the study of life is restricted largely to the study of cells and molecules — life at microscopic and sub-microscopic levels. In many of our research institutions, simple, disciplinary and sectoral approaches to a complex science that is shaped by human interactions with nature, remain pervasive. Biodiversity data are currently distributed in various siloed databases. These databases do not communicate with each other.
There is extensive knowledge and information on the biodiversity of India in its cultural heritage as well as its scientific expertise. Further, there are still areas and habitats that are unexplored and new species are being discovered every year. While there are many innovative initiatives to document biodiversity in India, integration and consolidation of biodiversity data into a national effort using the modern concepts and tools of ecoinformatics is lacking. India, with its technological, cultural and scientific power currently lags behind parallel global initiatives.
This National Mission focuses on addressing these gaps which will enable India to become a global leader in biodiversity management. Integrating various Indian initiatives and a wide spectrum of biodiversity related themes, ranging from traditional knowledge to health, sustainable use and conservation under a National Mission will be a valuable, integrated, inter-disciplinary and comprehensive initiative to address issues of conservation, sustainable development, resilience to climate change, health and overall human well-being.
The Biodiversity Collaborative is home to various experts from diverse academic and professional backgrounds