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26 October, 2020

10 Min Read

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment
2 New Ramsar Wetlands added: Now the total is 39

2 New Ramsar Wetlands added: Now the total is 39

Ramsar Convention or Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

  • It is an intergovernmental treaty for conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • It was adopted in 2 Feb, 1971 (Thus World Wetlands Day) in the Iranian city of Ramsar (Caspian Sea) and came into force in 1975. (WNBSR also in 1971)
  • It is the only global environmental system treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
  • Criteria for Wetlands of International Importance
  1. If it has a unique, rare example of natural wetland type.
  2. If it supports vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
  3. If it supports plant or animal species important for maintaining biodiversity of a region.
  4. If it regularly supports > 20000 waterbirds or 1% of individuals in 1 species or subspecies of waterbird.
  5. If it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies; if it is an importance source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and migration path.
  6. It is an important source of food and water resource, increased possibilities for recreation and eco-tourism, imporved scenic and educational values.
  • Chillika lake was designated the first Ramsite in India in 1981. Sundarbans = largest Ramsar site.

Sundarbans declared as the Ramsar Wetland:

  1. Sundarbans = 10000 sq km 60% in Bangladesh. It covers ~ 43% of Mangrove forests of India.
  2. It is the largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  3. It is located in delta region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins.
  4. West Bengal has 2 Wetlands now = East Kolkata Wetlands & Sundarbans (which has now become the largest Ramsar Site in India).
  5. The Sundarbans was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
  6. They are the only mangrove habitat which supports a significant population of Royal Bengal Tigers, and they have unique aquatic hunting  skills.
  7. It is home to critically endangered northern river terrapin (Batuga, Basaka), the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin, and the endangered fishing cat. It also has Chital Deer, Crocodile & Snakes.
  8. It met 4 out of 9 criteria of Ramsar: presence of rare species and threatened ecological communities, biological diversity, significant and representative fish and fish spawning ground and migration path.
  9. The part of the Sundarban delta, which lies in Bangladesh, was accorded the status of a Ramsar site in 1992.

10 more wetland added to Ramsar wetland. Now there are 37 in total.

  • Nandur Madhameshwar (1st in Maharashtra);
  • Keshopura, Miani, Beas Conservation, Nangal in Punjab;
  • Nawabganj, Parvati, Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi, Sarsai Nawar in UP.
  • UP has the maximum in number.
  • Lakshadweep has the largest % of Wetlands followed by AN. Gujarat has the highest % Statewise.

2 more Ramsar sites added: Now the total Ramsar sites in India is 39

  • Kabartal Wetland (Bihar) and Asan Conservation Reserve (Uttrakhand) have been designated as Ramsar sites, making them ‘Wetlands of International Importance’.

Kabartal Wetland:

  • Also known as Kanwar Jheel, it covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic plains in the Begusarai district of Bihar.
  • It acts as a vital flood buffer for the region besides providing livelihood opportunities to local communities.
  • Significant biodiversity is present, with 165 plant species and 394 animal species recorded, including 221 bird species. It is also a valuable site for fish biodiversity with over 50 species documented.
  • It is an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, with 58 migratory waterbirds using it to rest and refuel.
  • Five critically endangered species inhabit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) – and two waterbirds, the sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
  • Major threats to the Site include water management activities such as drainage, water abstraction, damming and canalization.

Asan Conservation Reserve:

  • ACR is a 444-hectare stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. It is Uttarakhand's first Ramsar Site.
  • The damming of the River by the Asan Barrage in 1967 resulted in siltation above the dam wall, which helped to create some of the Site’s bird-friendly habitats.
  • These habitats support 330 species of birds including the critically endangered red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
  • Other non-avian species present include 49 fish species, one of these being the endangered Putitora mahseer (Tor putitora). Fish use the site for feeding, migration and spawning.

Montreux Record

  1. It is a register of wetlands maintained as a part of Ramsar Sites where changes in the ecological character have occured or are occuring as a result of technological developments, pollution or human influence.
  2. 2 Sites from India included in this are Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan and Loktak Lake, Manipur.

 

National Wetland Inventory and Assesment:

  • The 1st scientific national inventory of wetlands in India was carried out by Space Applications Center (ISRO), Ahmedabad at the behest of MoEF.
  • Lakshadweep has the largest % of Wetlands (96.12%) followed by A&N. Gujarat has the highest % (statewise).

National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP), 1985-86

  • Under this programme, 115 wetlands have been identified which needs urgent conservation.

Objective of NWCP

  • To prevent further degradation and ensuing wise use for the benefit of local communities and conservation of biodiversity.
  • To provide financial assistance for conservation of priority wetlands and monitor implementation of programme.
  • To prepare an inventory of the Indian wetlands.
  • Since Land Resources belong to State, State Govt or UT are esponsible for management of wetlands and implementation

Wetlands International

  1. It is a global organization that works to sustain and restore wetlands and their resources for people and biodiversity. It is an independent, not for profit organization supported by Govt and NGOs.
  2. It does not fund. It was founded in 1937 as an International Wildfowl Enquiry. Not under UN.
  3. Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) across Asia and Australia is coordinated by Wetlands International and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
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