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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 03 January, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

Ramsar sites in India

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.
  • It is the only global environmental system treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.

Criteria for Wetlands of International Importance

  • If it has a unique, rare example of natural wetland type.
  • If it supports vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
  • If it supports plant or animal species important for maintaining biodiversity of a region.
  • If it regularly supports > 20000 waterbirds or 1% of individuals in 1 species or subspecies of waterbird.
  • 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.
  • It is an important source of food and water resource, increased possibilities for recreation and eco-tourism, imporved scenic and educational values.

Ramsar Sites in India

  • Chillika lake was designated the first Ramsite in India in 1981. Sundarbans = largest Ramsar site.
  • As on January 2021, there are 42 Ramsar sites in India.

Sundarbans declared as the Ramsar Wetland:

  • Sundarbans = 10000 sq km 60% in Bangladesh. It covers ~ 43% of Mangrove forests of India.
  • It is the largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • It is located in delta region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins.
  • West Bengal has 2 Wetlands now = East Kolkata Wetlands & Sundarbans (which has now become the largest Ramsar Site in India).
  • The Sundarbans was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
  • They are the only mangrove habitat which supports a significant population of Royal Bengal Tigers, and they have unique aquatic hunting skills.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The part of the Sundarban delta, which lies in Bangladesh, was accorded the status of a Ramsar site in 1992.

Latest Ramsar sites of India

  • Nandur Madhameshwar (1st in Maharashtra);
  • Keshopura, Miani, Beas Conservation, Nangal in Punjab;
  • Nawabganj, Parvati, Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi, Sarsai Nawar in UP.
  • Kabartal Wetland, also known as Kanwar Jheel, covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic plains in the northern Bihar State. Five critically endangered species inhabit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture and Indian vulture.
  • Asan Conservation Reserve is a 444-hectare stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand.
  • Sur Sarovar, commonly known as Keetham Lake, is a human-made reservoir in the State of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
  • Lonar Lake (Site no. 2441), on the Deccan Plateau in Maharashtra State, is an endorheic or closed basin, almost circular in shape, formed by a meteorite impact onto the basalt bedrock. The Site includes the lake as well as escarpments, which form the crater walls, and forested zones. The lake is high in salinity and alkalinity, as the lack of an outflow leads to a concentration of minerals as the lake water evaporates. Specialized micro-organisms such as anaerobes, cyanobacteria and phytoplankton survive in this harsh chemical environment.
  • India has designated its 42nd Ramsar Site: Tso Kar Wetland Complex is found at more than 4,500 metres above sea level in the Changthang region of Ladakh. The complex includes two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the larger hypersaline Tso Kar.

Montreux Record:

  • 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 Sites from India included in this are Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan and Loktak Lake, Manipur.

Source: TH


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