Biodiversity is the natural capital upon based on which nature’s services are provided and on which any sustainable economy must rely. This book is a tribute to avian biodiversity, celebrating its beauty as well as campaigning for the plight of the many fantastic species teetering on the brink of extinction. It is the product of the commitment and dedication of its author, the rigorous science and action orientated approach of BNHS and the collective work of numerous contributing researchers, birdwatchers and photographers. The BirdLife International global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries and territories worldwide, of which BNHS is the Indian Partner, has also played an important role. It is based on the most extensive and reliable database on priority sites and species, on the basis of consistent global standards, data which are crucial to setting priorities, to ensure that policy and action should always be informed by good science and good data.
Conservation is a constant struggle, more so in India which is changing rapidly, as we aim to rightfully find our place as a developed nation. However, this development must be sustainable and equitable or it will bring social upheaval and disaster to the remaining wild areas. In India, most conservation actions are tiger-centric, with little attention paid to other taxa. Non-tiger habitats are not so well protected and some are still considered as wasteland. This book shows that nearly 50% of the globally threatened bird species are not found in any of the 39 tiger reserves of India and therefore draw no benefit from tiger conservation. We must look beyond Project Tiger if we want to save all wildlife and all wild areas. If this book helps in changing the focus of conservation to make it more inclusive, it will have served its purpose.
This book published by Indian Bird Conservation Network, an initiative of BNHS and BirdLife International, is a fine example of worldwide collaboration among organisations and numerous individuals. It uses the BirdLife/IUCN 2011 list as a base and provides India-specific information to make it relevant to the Indian public and decision makers. It also includes most recent detailed information on 15 Critically Endangered, 15 Endangered, 52 Vulnerable, 66 Near Threatened and two Data Deficient bird species, along with articles on various aspects of bird protection.
The book will be of interest to researchers, students, professors, policy makers, bureaucrats, bird lovers, corporates, NGOs and the lay reader interested in the natural world in general, and birds in particular. Priced at Rs 3000, this 870-pages book printed on art paper, has a very attractive cover of Satyr Tragopan and includes 155 maps and 645 photos in colour.