Wetland Conservation

[pib] India gets its first Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ramsar Convention, Wetlands

Mains level : Wetland conservation in India

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced the establishment of a Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM).

What are Wetlands?

  • A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail.
  • The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other landforms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil.
  • Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to the wetlands of India, consider the following statements:

  1. The country’s total geographical area under the category of wetlands is recorded more in Gujarat as compared to other states.
  2. In India, the total geographical area of coastal wetlands is larger than that of inland wetlands.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ecological significance of wetlands

  • Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.
  • They are, in fact, a major source of water and our main supply of fresh water comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.

About CWCM

  • WCM would serve as a knowledge hub and enable exchange between State/ UT Wetland Authorities, wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners.
  • It would function as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai.
  • It would address specific research needs and knowledge gaps and will aid in the application of integrated approaches for conservation, management and wise use of the wetlands.

Why need such a centre?

  • India has nearly 4.6% of its land as wetlands, covering an area of 15.26 million hectares and has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1.08 million hectares.
  • The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, celebrated annually as World Wetlands Day.

Back2Basics: Ramsar Convention

  • The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (better known as the Ramsar Convention) is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
  • It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.
  • The convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
  • Traditionally viewed as a wasteland or breeding ground of disease, wetlands actually provide fresh water and food and serve as nature’s shock absorber.
  • Wetlands, critical for biodiversity, are disappearing rapidly, with recent estimates showing that 64% or more of the world’s wetlands have vanished since 1900.
  • Major changes in land use for agriculture and grazing, water diversion for dams and canals and infrastructure development are considered to be some of the main causes of loss and degradation of wetlands.

Enthusiasts can read this document:

Faunal Diversity in Ramsar Wetlands of India

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