In a significant announcement on the eve of World Wetlands Day 2024, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav revealed that India has expanded its count of Ramsar sites to 80, with the addition of five new wetlands. These sites, located in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, contribute to the ecological richness of the country.
NEW RAMSAR SITES
ANKASAMUDRA BIRD CONSERVATION RESERVE
- A humanmade Village Irrigation Tank spread over 98.76 hectares.
- Rich in biodiversity with over 210 species of plants, 240 species of birds, and significant waterbird populations.
- Supports more than 1% of the biogeographic population of Painted Stork and Black-headed Ibis.
- Spreads across 4801 hectares at the confluence of Aghanashini River with the Arabian Sea.
- Provides diverse ecosystem services, including flood and erosion risk mitigation and livelihood support.
- Supports over 43,000 counts of over 66 waterbird species.
MAGADI KERE CONSERVATION RESERVE
- A human-made wetland spanning nearly 50 hectares.
- Home to over 166 bird species, including vulnerable and near-threatened species.
- One of the largest wintering grounds for the Bar-headed goose in Southern India.
KARAIVETTI BIRD SANCTUARY
- One of the largest inland wetlands of Tamil Nadu, covering 453.72 hectares.
- Significant for groundwater recharge and agricultural use.
- Home to around 198 bird species, including Bar-headed Goose, Pin-tailed duck, and Common Pochard.
LONGWOOD SHOLA RESERVE FOREST
- Located in the upper reaches of the Nilgiris, serving as a tropical rainforest.
- Habitat for globally endangered and vulnerable bird species.
- Home to 14 out of 26 endemic bird species of the Western Ghats.
TOTAL RAMSAR SITES AREA
With the inclusion of these five wetlands, the total area covered under Ramsar sites in India now stands at 1.33 million hectares, representing a significant increase of 5,523.87 hectares.
WORLD WETLANDS DAY 2024 CELEBRATION
The theme for World Wetlands Day 2024, “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing,” emphasizes the crucial role wetlands play in enhancing human lives. India, in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, is organizing the national event at Sirpur Lake, Indore, a Ramsar site designated in 2022. Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, is participating in the celebration to be held on February 2, 2024. The event will bring together officials, wetland authority representatives, and site managers to highlight the importance of wetlands in human wellbeing.
BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH THE RAMSAR CONVENTION.
Recognition and Conservation
Identifying threatened wetlands and facilitating the development of national-level policies for their wise use.
Promoting conservation efforts to ensure the sustainability of wetland ecosystems.
Professionalism in Conservation
Establishing a framework for professional and organized conservation efforts.
Encouraging best practices in wetland management and protection.
Facilitating the exchange of information and knowledge on wetland conservation and management.
Creating a platform for countries to learn from each other’s experiences and successes.
Fostering collaboration and cooperation among countries for the shared goal of wetland conservation.
Providing a platform for joint initiatives and addressing transboundary wetland issues.
Sustainable Use of Resources
Promoting sustainable practices in agriculture, fishing, forestry, and tourism within wetland areas.
Balancing human activities with the need to preserve the ecological integrity of wetlands.
Development of an international network of wetlands
Establishing a global network of wetlands recognized for their ecological importance.
Encouraging the conservation and sustainable use of diverse wetland ecosystems worldwide.
Maintenance of Ecosystem Components, Processes, and Benefits
Ensuring the preservation of essential components and processes within wetland ecosystems.
Safeguarding the biodiversity, water purification, and flood control functions of wetlands.
Sustainable Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry, and Tourism
Supporting livelihoods by promoting sustainable practices in agriculture, fishing, forestry, and tourism.
Balancing economic activities with the long-term health and resilience of wetland ecosystems.
Essential Services and Freshwater Supply
Recognizing the indispensable role of wetlands in providing essential ecosystem services.
Highlighting the critical function of wetlands in supplying freshwater and supporting various life forms.