India: A Land of Natural Wonders
Nature in India holds a special place in the hearts of its people as a revered symbol of spirituality, culture and life.
Its rivers and forests provide food, water and livelihood to millions of people across the country. As a region that supports more than 8% of the Earth’s biodiversity, its natural beauty is unparalleled, and wildlife unique and endemic. India is also the second most populous country on Earth, and its high population density poses unique environmental and developmental challenges.
As India rapidly grows its economy, it is also mindful of conserving its natural resources for the future. The Nature Conservancy is working with the Indian government across the central, state and city level, research institutions and private sector organizations to bring stakeholders together to amplify conservation impact.
We are addressing challenges to nature and people involving climate change, freshwater, forests and livelihood, and healthy cities. We are pursuing a shared nature-people agenda to ensure that conservation is a critical outcome in economic development.
We are working toward:
- Restoring iconic rivers, such as the Ganga and Narmada, by creating science-based solutions that help the government identify interventions that would have the maximum conservation impact to improve the health of these rivers for its people and nature.
- Supporting India’s renewable energy and afforestation goals by helping the government scientifically locate ideal sites for renewable energy projects that have low ecological and social values.
- Building healthy, safe and resilient cities by restoring lakes in the South Indian city of Chennai and creating an Urban Greenprinting model for Coimbatore city to ensure it integrates nature-based solutions in its development planning.
- Reducing air pollution resulting from agriculture residue burning in northwest India by encouraging farmers to utilize this residue in their fields itself, thereby eliminating the need to burn while also improving soil health, reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change.
- Promoting drought resilience and ensuring water security for people and nature in the state of Maharashtra—a severely dry region of India.
- Setting up India’s first Water Fund—The Nature Conservancy’s tried and tested approach to encourage investment in nature and protect water at its source.
Did you know?
Here are some interesting facts about India’s biodiversity and connection between people and nature:
- Home to the largest population of three globally iconic species: 57% of the global tiger population, 65% of the global Asian elephant population and 82% of the global Indian rhino population is found in India.
- Ranks among the top 10 countries with highest forest cover and diversity of forest type.
- More than 8,000 kms of coastline that supports a variety of marine ecosystems and species, and the largest population of fisher communities globally, estimated at 3 million.
- India ranks seventh globally in the total production of fisheries, indicating the importance of its marine health for livelihood and economy.
- More than 50% of India’s population depends on the river basins of its two major rivers—Ganga and Brahmaputra—for water, food and livelihood security.
- With 18% of the world’s population, its rivers, lakes and wetlands account for just 4% of the world’s freshwater resources.