From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ramsar Convention, Coringa WLS
Mains level : Not Much
Godavari Estuary in Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) is facing due ignorance despite meeting all nine criteria of Ramsar Convention.
- The estuary, including 235.70 sq. km Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), is one of the rarest eco-regions on the earth.
- It is also home to India’s second-largest mangrove cover after the Sundarbans.
- The CWS is inhabited by 115 endangered fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), Olive Ridley turtles, Indian smooth-coated otter, and saltwater crocodiles.
What are the nine criteria laid out by Ramsar Convention?
- Criterion 1: “it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.”
- Criterion 2: “it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.”
- Criterion 3: “it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.”
- Criterion 4: “it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.”
- Criterion 5: “it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.”
- Criterion 6: “it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.”
- Criterion 7: “it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.”
- Criterion 8: “it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.”
- Criterion 9: “it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non-avian animal species.”
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.