India has a long history of conservation. Many communities of forest dwellers and fisher people follow tradition practices of maintaining closed seasons when no hunting or fishing is allowed, so that the natural wildlife population can recoup its numbers. Traditionally, hunting spoils were also shared within a community. Many species have been conserved through the centuries because of religion and social customs. These include animals like the king cobra and the langur monkey. In federal times, kings and rulers maintained private hunting preserves. They protected certain forests and water bodies so that they could hunt for tiger. sambhar partridges, quail, duck and other species. The forests of Gir (Gujarat), Ranthambore (Rajasthan) and Bandipur (Karnataka) and the water body created by the rulers of Bharatpur had their origin in hunting pressures. But the purpose was entertainment, not conservation and anything that interfered with the end was removed. So old trees with the nesting holes of woodpeckers and hornbills, for instance, used to be cut down. 3. The British realized the value of timber from the forests. Some forests were reserved for commercial use, so that the timber could be sent overseas to build ships and to be used in ammunition factories. Some forests were protected for the sake of soil conservation and maintaining the climate, But both in feudal and in colonial times, the local people were kept out of the wild areas and they could not understand why the areas that they had taken care of for centuries should be set apart to benefit others. In recent times, national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves have been established on the principal that the conservation of large mammals and species at the top of a food web such as the elephant, rhinoceros, tiger and crocodile will help to maintain the entire web of living beings in the habitat. These protected areas have been successful in increasing the numbers of certain species, notably the tiger and Indian rhinoceros, which have been, saved form a position of near extinction. But smaller plants and animals have been virtually overlooked. The other problem is that these protected areas have become tourist resorts, but the local people, who were once the guardians of the forests and whose daily lives depend on forest resources, have been kept out. 5. Biosphere reserve is one of the steps taken for the protection and conservation of the great biological diversity of our land. Every plant and animal species would be protected so that this natural heritage can be transmitted to the future generation is all its vigor and glory. There are thirteen such zones to be reserved in Toto

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