Wetland Conservation

Places in news: Deepor Beel

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ramsar Convention, Wetlands

Mains level : Ramsar wetlands in India

Assam has prohibited community fishing at Deepor Beel, a wetland on the south-western edge of Guwahati and it’s the only Ramsar site.

Try this PYQ:

In which one among the following categories of protected areas in India are local people not allowed to collect and use the biomass?

(a) Biosphere reserves

(b) National parks

(c) Wetlands declared under Ramsar convention

(d) Wildlife sanctuaries

Deepor Beel

  • Deepor Beel is located to the south-west of Guwahati city, in Kamrup district of Assam, India.
  • It is a permanent freshwater lake, in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, to the south of the main river.
  • It is a wetland under the Ramsar Convention which has listed since November 2002, for undertaking conservation measures on the basis of its biological and environmental importance.
  • Considered as one of the largest beels in the Brahmaputra valley of Lower Assam, it is categorised as a representative of the wetland type under the Burma monsoon forest biogeographic region.
  • It is also an important bird sanctuary habituating many migrant species.
  • Freshwater fish is a vital protein and source of income for these communities; the health of these people is stated to be directly dependent on the health of this wetland ecosystem.

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.
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