Asan Conservation Reserve designated as Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar Sites

Context

  • Kabartal, a freshwater marsh of North Bihar and Asan Conservation reserve (Asan Barrage) in Doon Valley of Uttarakhand were designated as Ramsar Sites.
  • With these two sites, the network of Indian Ramsar Sites becomes the largest in South Asia i.e. 39 in nos.

About Asan Conservation reserve

  • It is a 444-hectare stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand.

    Asan Conservation Reserve
    Source: HindustanTimes

  • The site is a biodiversity hub that supports 330 species of birds including the critically endangered redheaded vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
  • It also supports large congregations of migratory birds like red-crested pochard and ruddy shelduck and is a known feeding, spawning and migrating site for over 40 fish species.

About Kabartal

  • also known as Kanwar jheel covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic plains, in Begusarai district of the state of Bihar.
  • The site acts as a vital flood buffer for the region besides providing livelihood opportunities to the local communities.
  • As a habitat to biodiversity, the wetland supports about 165 plant, 394 animals and around 50 fish species.
  • Kabartal is also an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, with 58 migratory waterbirds using it as a wintering site.
  • Besides, critically endangered vultures including red-headed vulture and white-rumped vulture also use the site as a habitat.

Criteria:

  • The criteria cleared by Asan Conservation Reserve to get Ramsar site tag include that it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species, it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity, it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles and 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.

Back to Basics

  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea.
  • The name of the Convention is usually written “Convention on Wetlands’’.
  • The Convention on Wetlands came into force for India on February 1, 1982.
  • Those wetlands which are of international importance are declared as Ramsar sites.

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