- India has added five more Ramsar sites, or wetlands that are of international importance, bringing the number of such sites to 54.
- Karikili Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
- Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest, Tamil Nadu
- Pichavaram Mangrove in Tamil Nadu
- The Sakhya Sagar in Madhya Pradesh
- Pala Wetland in Mizoram.
Importance of Wetlands
- Wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival.
- Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.
- India’s Ramsar wetlands are spread over 11,000 sq km — around 10% of the total wetland area in the country — across 18 States. No other South Asian country has as many sites though this has much to do with India’s geographical breadth and tropical diversity.
- The United Kingdom (175) and Mexico (142) — smaller countries than India — have the maximum Ramsar sites whereas Bolivia spans the largest area with 148,000 sq km under the Convention protection.
Meaning to designate a Ramsar Site
- Being designated a Ramsar site does not necessarily invite extra international funds but that States — and the Centre — must ensure that these tracts of land are conserved and spared from man-made encroachment.
- Acquiring this label also helps with a locale’s tourism potential and its international visibility. Until 1981, India had 41 Ramsar sites though the last decade has seen the sharpest rise —13 — in designating new sites.
- To be Ramsar site, however, it must meet at least one of nine criteria as defined by the Ramsar Convention of 1961, such as supporting vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities or, if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds or, is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks are dependent upon.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
- The Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord for preserving the ecological character of wetlands.
- It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands, it aims to develop a global network of wetlands for conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
- The Ramsar Convention works closely with six organisations known as International Organization Partners (IOPs).
- Birdlife International
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- Wetlands International
- International Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)
- As per the Ramsar Convention on wetlands report, the wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests, with 35% of the wetlands lost from 1970-2015.
- The alarming situation demands urgent attention as 40% of the world’s plant and animal species breed in wetlands. The wetlands are also vital feeding and breeding grounds for migratory birds.
Karikili Bird Sanctuary
- Karikili Bird Sanctuary is a 61.21-hectare protected area located in the Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu.
- This bird sanctuary is spread over a five-kilometer-wide belt and is home to cormorants, egrets, grey heron, open-billed stork, darter, spoonbill, white lbnis, night herons, grebes, grey pelican among others.
Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest
- One of the last remaining natural wetlands of Chennai city, the marsh drains in an area of 250 square kilometers encompassing 65 wetlands.
- According to the Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority, the Pallikaranai Marsh is one of the few natural coastal aquatic habitats that qualify as a wetland in India.
- Pichavaram mangrove is located in a village near Chidambaram in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu.
- It has an island of a vast expanse of water covered with mangrove forests.
- The mangrove is one of the largest mangrove forests in India, covering 1100 hectares.
- It is created from the Manier river in 1918.
- Sakhya Sagar Lake is an integral part of the beautiful ecology of the Madhav National Park in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh.
- Marsh Crocodiles are in abundance in Sakhya Sagar lake.
- Palak Dil or Pala Tipo means swallowing lake in Mara language, and the wetland, located near Phura village in Saiha district of Mizoram, is home to a wide range of animals, birds, and reptiles.
- According to the government of Mizoram, Its geographical location falls under the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot and is therefore rich in animal and plant species.
- The lake is a major component of the Palak Wildlife Sanctuary and it supports the major biodiversity of the sanctuary.
Oldest Ramsar Site in India
Largest Ramsar Sites of India
Difference between Wetlands, Ramsar List and Montreux Record
Which of the following is a Oxbow Wetland?
- Chandertal in Himachal Pradesh
- Nilnag in Kashmir
- Rudrasagr in Tripura
- Loktak in Manipur