Context: Asan Conservation Reserve has become Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar site, making it a ‘Wetland of International Importance’, announced the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
More on the news:
- The conservation Reserve cleared five out of the nine criteria needed to be declared as a Ramsar site and get identified as a Wetland of International Importance.
- Asan Conservation Reserve cleared the category on species and ecological communities, one on water-birds and another on fish.
- With this inclusion, the number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 38, which is the highest in South Asia.
Asan Conservation Reserve
- It is spread across a 4.44 sq km area in Dehradun district on the banks of the Yamuna river.
- Species found: Many endangered birds are found here and some even migrate to the Reserve, making it an ecologically important site.
- Asan receives about 40 migratory species, which includes Rudy Shelduck, Common coot, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Indian cormorant, Baer’s pochard, Northern pintail, Bar-headed goose
- It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
- It was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran and came into force in 1975.
- In India, the convention entered into force on 1 February 1982.
- It has released its maiden global report named “Global Wetland Outlook”.
Importance of Being a Ramsar Site
- They are recognized as being of significant value for humanity as a whole, not just for the concerned countries.
- The inclusion in the list embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
- The selection is made on the basis of various criteria defined under the convention.
- Wetlands should be selected on account of their international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology.
- It is maintained as a part of the Ramsar List.
- It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
- Two wetlands from India, namely Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur) feature in the Montreux Record.
State of Wetlands in India
- A petition filed in Supreme Court states reveals that India has over 7 lakh wetlands covering 1.6 crore hectares or 4.5% of India’s area
- The Court extended protection to 2,01,503 of these under Rule 4 of the 2010 Rules, and ordered authorities to notify sites.
- But not a single wetland has been notified under domestic laws.
- The Supreme Court too expressed concern over the disappearance of wetlands, and observed, “If there are no wetlands left, it will affect agriculture and several other things. It is a very, very important issue.”
- Wetlands are regulated under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.
Other newly inducted Ramsar sites in India :
- Located in Nashik District. It houses a bird sanctuary.
- It is also known as the Bharatpur of Maharashtra.
- It lies in the middle of the Ravi and Beas rivers, and just 12 km away from the Indo-Pak border.
- Being the first-ever notified community reserve of India, it has the mechanism of joint management of locals and forest department.
- Participatory management has resulted in better conservation and a role model for others.
- It has emerged as a favorable home for migratory birds.
Beas Conservation Reserve
- It is a 185-km stretch starting from the Harike headworks to Talwara Conservation Reserve.
- It is widely known for successful reintroduction of Gharials.
- It is dependent on Sutlej river for its sustenance.
- It is home to numerous species of both residents as well as migratory birds from the trans-Himalayan region.
- Among those are the red jungle fowl, large Indian parakeet, Indian cuckoo, wood shrike, yellow-eyed babbler and crested bunting.
- It also houses threatened species like the Indian pangolin.
- The Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary is located in the Unnao District.
- The sanctuary welcomes many international and national migratory birds.
- Among those are Garganey Teal, Mallard, Purple Moorhen, Little Grebe, Spoonbill Duck, Red Wattled Lapwing, Wigon.
- It is located near Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh.
- Parvati and Arga are two connected rain-fed lakes which are 1.5 km apart.
- It is a potential ecotourism site in terms of providing facilities of bird conservation awareness.
- Saman Bird Sanctuary is located in Bhogav, near Agra.
- It was notified in 1990 with an objective to protect the large population of Cranes in the area.
- Among the storks it houses include Painted Stork, Block-necked Stork, Open-billed Stork and Woolly-necked Stork.
- It is located in Raebareli district.
- Samaspur bird sanctuary is exclusively known for the preservation of bird species including various migratory birds.
- It houses more than 250 species of birds and remains a favourite bird destination.
- Vulture, Kingfishers, Spot Bill Teel common and Teel Whistling etc. are permanent residents of this sanctuary.
- Situated in Hardoi district.
- Bombay natural history society has listed this sanctuary as an "important bird area".
- It is a small unprotected wetland, in Etawah District of Uttar Pradesh.
- It comprises two small lakes that attract Sarus Cranes, White Ibis and other water birds in large numbers.
- It houses a large population of the threatened species of Sarus Cranes which are the world's tallest flying birds.
Image Source: HT