Wetland Conservation

Places in news: Pantanal Wetlands

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pantanal Wetlands

Mains level : Not Much

The world’s largest wetland, the Pantanal in South America, is at the risk of collapse due to legal land-use decisions and proposals.

About Pantanal

  • The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetland area, and the world’s largest flooded grasslands.
  • It is located mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso and portions of Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • It sprawls over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometres.
  • Various subregional ecosystems exist, each with distinct hydrological, geological and ecological characteristics; up to 12 of them have been defined.
  • Roughly 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing a biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species.

Significance of Pantanal

  • The Pantanal is a refuge for iconic wildlife. This massive wetland has the largest concentration of crocodiles in the world, with approximately 10 million caimans.
  • Jaguars, the largest feline in the Americas, hunt caiman in the Pantanal, which has one of the highest density of jaguars anywhere the world.

Threats

  • Around 95% of the Pantanal is under private ownership, the majority of which is used for cattle grazing.

 

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