The strategy of in-situ conservation revolves around establishment of small or large protected areas which are set aside exclusively for wild life. Human activities like, hunting, firewood collection, timber harvesting etc. are restricted in these areas so that wild plants and animals could grow and multiply in a protected environment. The strategy though not adequate or fully successful has been of much help in preserving a considerable variety of life forms.
Today there are about 7,000 protected areas, parks, and sanctuaries, nature reserves all round the world which cover more than 650 million hectares of earth’s surface representing about 5% of the total land area of our planet. These include a variety of national parks, sanctuaries, biosphere reserves etc. which differ from one another Bite size, purpose and the degree of human interference or management efforts accorded.
National parks and Sanctuaries are usually meant for the protection of one two or more species and their habitats. They are usually small reserves which on an average range between 100 sq. kms to 500 sq. kms. The boundaries of National parks are usually well marked and circumscribed where as those of a sanctuary are often not well defined.
Controlled biotic interference is permitted in sanctuaries which allow tourist activities as well. In National parks, tourist activity as well as a limited biotic interference on the outskirts or the buffer zone may be permitted but no interference is allowed in the deeper interior or the core zone of the park.
The Nature reserve or Biosphere reserve on the other hand are usually large protected areas with boundaries circumscribed by legislation and are usually more than 5,000 sq. kms in area. They are not meant for any species in particular but are intended to preserve a representative sample of entire biotic spectrum of the locality or the climatic zone.
Except for a limited degree of biotic interference in the buffer zone or the out skirts no exploitative human activity or tourism is permitted in a Nature reserve or Biosphere reserve. They are usually scientifically managed and due attention is accorded to Research and Conservation of gene pool within its confines.