Ramsar sitesDate: 07 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous
The Khijadia Bird Sanctuary near Jamnagar in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh have been designated as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
India, which had 47 Ramsar sites earlier, will now be home to 49 sites after the recent addition. It is the highest in South-Asia.
The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It came into existence in 1971.
Wetlands under Ramsar convention is defined as areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters.
However, it does not cover river channels, paddy fields, human-made water bodies for drinking water purposes and structures constructed for aquaculture, salt production, recreation and irrigation purposes.
The land supports predominantly hydrophytes
The substrate is predominantly undrained hydric soil
The substrate is non-soil and is saturated with water or covered by shallow water at some time each year.
United Kingdom has highest number of Ramsar sites, followed by Mexico. Bolivia has the largest area under the Convention protection.
Russia, Chad, Canada and Congo have each designated more than 100,000 sq km for protection under the convention.
Central Asian Flyway (CAF)
Bird species fly to warmer equatorial regions, including India due to harsh winter conditions in Europe and Siberia.
They use a path for flying known as Central Asian Flyway. The path passes through 30 countries, covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory water bird species.
The wetlands in India act as resting and breeding grounds for many species. Gujarat is the first stop in India and hence attracts large number of migratory species.