From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Harike Wetland
Mains level : Wetland conservation in India
Winter migratory waterbirds using the central Asian flyway have started making a beeline to Punjab’s Harike wetland, offering a delight for bird lovers.
Try this PYQ:
Q.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
- Harike Wetland also is the largest wetland in northern India in the border of Tarn Taran Sahib district and Ferozepur district of Punjab.
- The wetland and the lake were formed by constructing the headworks across the Sutlej River in 1953.
- The headworks is located downstream of the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers just south of Harike village.
- The rich biodiversity of the wetland which plays a vital role in maintaining the precious hydrological balance in the catchment with its vast concentration of migratory fauna.
- It was accorded as a wetland in 1990, by the Ramsar Convention, as one of the Ramsar sites in India, for conservation, development and preservation of the 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.