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Biodiversity & Environment

Two New Ramsar Sites

  • 26 Oct 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

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

Key Points

  • 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.

Ramsar Site

  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea.
  • It came into force for India on 1st February, 1982. Those wetlands which are of international importance are declared as Ramsar sites.
  • The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
  • The Montreux Record 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. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
    • At present, two wetlands of India are in Montreux Record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur).
    • Chilika Lake (Odisha) was placed in the record but later removed from it.

Source: HT

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