BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA
- The Indian State Government can notify the Biodiversity Heritage Sites in consultation with local governing bodies under Section 37 of Biological Diversity Act of 2002. These areas are considered unique and fragile ecosystems.
- They can be either terrestrial, coastal and inland waters or marine ecosystems.
- Biodiversity heritage sites are biological areas with unique and ecologically fragile ecosystems comprising rare and threatened species.
- These kinds of areas are usually home to important species that are not only endemic or endangered but can also be either keystone species, flagship species or umbrella species.
- Creation of BHSs may not put any restriction on prevailing practices and usages of local communities, other than those voluntarily decided by them.
- State Governments are also empowered to frame schemes for compensating or rehabilitating any person or section of people economically affected by such notification.
- State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) may invite suggestion for declaration of BHSs through relevant community institutions (Gram sabhas, panchayats, urban wards, forest protection committees, tribal councils).
- Nallur Tamarind Grove in Bengaluru, Karnataka was the first Biodiversity Heritage Site of India, declared in 2007.
What is Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002?
- The state governments are given the authority to inform BHS after consulting with the “local bodies” under this section.
- According to Section 37, subsection 2, the state government may create regulations for the management and preservation of the BHS after consulting with the federal government.
- The state government is given the authority to develop plans under Section 3 for the restitution or rehabilitation of any person or community who suffered economic harm as a result of the BHS’s notification.
DECLARED BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE SITES
NALLUR TAMARIND GROVE-BENGALURU, KARNATAKA
- It is popularly believed to be a relic of the Chola Dynasty that ruled nearly 800 years ago, is spectacle of awesome wonder and a freakish site.
- This BHS spread over 54 acres comprising a population of nearly 300 trees, is a picture of dynamic pattern of plant diversity.
- The significant component of this popular structure is a group of old plants standing like ageless sentinels, firmly rooted to the ground with their gigantic trunks, along with large picturesque crowns spread very high and aloft like open wings.
- The area has unique Shola vegetation and grass land with number of floral species which are unique and having lot of medicinal value. Hogrekan is moderately wooded land and its vegetation is of dry deciduous type and has a link with Bababudanagiri and Kemmangundi, adjoining Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Yemmedode Tiger Reserve and serving as “Wildlife Corridor” between Kudremukha and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, GKVK CAMPUS, BENGALURU-KARNATAKA
- The GKVK campus is considered one of the greenest areas in Bengaluru. Biological diversity of this campus constitutes a critical repository of various forms of flora and fauna (including 13 sp of mammals, 10 sp of reptiles, 165 sp of birds and 530 sp of plants) which needs to be protected nurtured to posterity.
- It is a revenue land located between Sharavathi Wild Life Sanctuary and Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary.
- It has Shola vegetation which is primitive vegetation in the Western Ghat and also has grasslands.
GLORY OF ALLAPALLI-MAHARASHTRA
- Allapalli is known for its nearby old-growth forests, which were first noted as worthy of preservation by the British in 1867.
- A six-hectare patch of these forests located 16 km (9.9 mi) east of the village, named “Glory of Allapalli,” was first designated for conservation in 1953, and in 2014 declared as the first Biodiversity Heritage Site in Maharashtra.
TONGLU BHS UNDER THE DARJEELING FOREST DIVISION-WEST BENGAL
- One of the higher peaks of the Singalila Ridge and a small settlement inside the Singalila National Park in the Darjeeling subdivision, Darjeeling district in the state of West Bengal in India near the India – Nepal border. It is a roadside halt along the trekking route from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu.
DHOTREY BHS UNDER THE DARJEELING FOREST DIVISION-WEST BENGAL
- It is a Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas
- Ameenpuris a small lake in Sangareddy District in the Indian state of Telangana and on the edge of the city of Hyderabad. It is the first body of water in India to be recognized as a Biodiversity Heritage Site and is the first biodiversity site to be approved in an urban area.
- a river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam and in 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India.
- The island is formed by the Brahmaputra River in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north.
- Mājuli island is accessible by ferries from the city of Jorhat.
- It was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit. Mājuli is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture.
- Majuli is since 2004 in the UNESCO Tentative List for nomination as a World Heritage Site.
GHARIYAL REHABILITATION CENTRE-UTTAR PRADESH
- It is a centre established for conservation and rehabilitation of critically endangered species of Gharial.
CHILKIGARH KANAK DURGA-WEST BENGAL
- Chilkigarh Kanak Durga Sacred Grove is a remnant forest with traditional beliefs and taboos of local inhabitants and rich in biodiversity covering an area of 55.9 acres in Jhargram District of West Bengal.
KHLAW KUR SYIEM KMIEING-MEGHALAYA
- It is a mosaic of natural habitats along with significant diversity of life forms. It is also an old Sacred Grove with monoliths and religious spots.
- Mandasaru gorge is an adobe of 1563 species of plants, animals and fungi spreaded over an area of 528 ha.
- Sacred Grove
- ‘Purvatali Rai’ is a unique combination of eco-theological, socio-ecological and sacred beliefs leading to conservation even in these modern times.
- Sacred groves are indeed very old nature sanctuaries where not only living but also the non-living beings are afforded protection through traditions by the grace of any one deity or spirit.
NARO HILLS-MADHYA PRADESH
- Unique and varied geology and it supports a large number of ecosystem and species of Flora and Fauna.
- Terrain of 1700 feet deep valley and ecosystem of estimated age of 6 Million years and species of rare flora and fauna including rare Bryophytes and Pteridopytes;
- The BHS hosts a unique diversity of Mangrove species with diverse flora and fauna.
- The area harbours 15 sp. of true mangroves, 22 sp. of mangroves associated. 122 sp. of plants, 34 sp. of edible fish and about 62 sp. of birds.
- Most importantly, the site has the rare and endangered heritage trees of Syzygium travancoricum which is listed as critically endangered in IUCN Red List.
BAMBARDE MYRISTICA SWAMPS-MAHARASHTRA
- The low-lying valleys of the evergreen tropical forests of the Western Ghats harbour a rare, ancient ecosystem: the Myristica
- Comprised mainly of evergreen trees of the Myristicaceaefamily—one of the most primitive families of flowering plants renowned for the nutmeg tree species, the swamps are rich in biodiversity and scientists have been discovering new species to this day.
- In the monsoons, the swamps, typically located near a central stream, are inundated with freshwater gushing in, creating a unique habitat for a host of species.
- The hallmarks of the swamps are two tree species, exclusively found in the swamps (a.k.a. endemic), that thrive in the waterlogged conditions: Gymnacranthera canarica(also known as Gymnacranthera farquhariana) and Myristica fatua var. magnifica (Bedd.) Sinclair.
- The former is listed as Vulnerable while the latter is Endangered, according to the last IUCN Red List assessments in 1998 which desperately need updating.
- This is the first natural heritage Site identified by the Government of Maharashtra through state biodiversity board by studying ecological, social and cultural elements.
- This garden is located near Spicer College behind University of Pune and located at the Ganeshkhind Research Center.
- The garden was one of the oldest in the country, with some of trees being planted by the Peshwas, especially the mango trees.
- Landorkhori in Jalgaon is home to peacocks and hence the name.
- The fish Schistura hiranyakeshi was spotted for the first time in a pond at the Mahadev Temple at Amboli in Sindhudurg district, Western Ghats The 2.11 ha area has now been declared as ‘Shistura Hiranyakeshi Biological Heritage Site’ in April 2021.
- It has become the 5th such heritage site in the state of Maharashtra.
BANESWAR SHIVA DIGHI-WEST BENGAL
- It offers refuge to Black Softshell Turtle Nilssonia nigricanslisted under Appendix I of CITES and extinct in the wild category of IUCN.
SACRED GROVE AT SURAL BHATORI MONASTERY-HIMACHAL PRADESH
- Uniqueness: A patch of Betula utilis or Bhojpatra trees wilh some intersp~rsed Willow trees Dominant shrubs and herbs: Rosa species, Lonicera species, Sorbus species, Agropyron longearistatum, Festuca species, Primula denticulata, Polygonatum verticillatum, Plantago asiatica, Heracleum candicans, Berberis species, Artemisia species, Bunium Persicum etc. Major faunal species, in the surrounding area: Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Tibetan ·Wolf, Ibex etc.
HIGH ALTITUDE MEADOW @ HUDAN BHATORI-HIMACHAL PRADESH
- Uniqueness: Cotoneaster species, Lonicera species, Sorbus species, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Bromusasper, Fesruca species, Poa species, Primula denticulata, Picrorhiza kurroa, Anemone species. Iris species, Artemisia species. Lonicera spocies, Bunium persicum, Jurinea macrocephala etc.
- Important Horal species recorded in the area: Picrorhiza kurroa, Dactylorhiza haragirea, Aconitum heterophyllum, Podophyllum hexandrum and Saussurea costus (cultivated). Major faunal species, in the region: Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Marmot, Ibex and Royle’s Pika.
BIRCH-PINE FOREST PATCH @ NAIN GAHAR-HIMACHAL PRADESH
- Uniqueness: Main trees are Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis) and Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiiana).
- A few middle aged trees of West Himalayan Spruce (Picea smithiana), Deodar (Cedrus deodara) and Juniper (Juniperus species) are interspersed in the proposed patch. Besides. Willow (Salix species) and Sea Buckthorn (Jlippophae salicifolia) are also present in the site.
- The proposed site also includes a very good patch of grassy area, which supports a very good population of important medicinal and aromatic plants like Picrorhzza kurroa. Dactylorhiza hacagirea, Aconitum heterophyllum, Podophyllum hexandrum, Aconitum violaceum, Bunium persicum, Hippophae rhamnoides etc.
- Uniqueness: The highest natural waterfall in Tripura. Critical habitat for rare wildlife. Rich in floristic diversity. Habitat for many stream water favored fauna.
- Uniqueness: Cultural and religious significance, Example of Ethno-religious aspects, Sacred trees and stones,Rich forest flora and fauna, Source of natural stream flow has diverse ecosystem services, Site of semi wild, wild and domesticated ornamental plants.
- Uniqueness: Only natural cave of Tripura. Unique habitat for several threatened cave bat species in Tripura.
- Rich floristic diversity. Ethno-religious and cultural significance. Critical habitat for rare wildlife. Stream rich in aquatic fauna. Multi- ecosystem services.
DEBBARI OR CHABIMURA-TRIPURA
- Uniqueness: River forest ecosystems at Debbari with rich fauna and flora. Unique habitat for threatened plants of Tripura like Dhup tree and cane resources of India.
- Unique breeding habitat for threatened fishes of Tripura. Unique breeding habitat for threatened wildlife of Tripura.
BETLINGSHIB & ITS SURROUNDINGS-TRIPURA
- Uniqueness: Geographical/ topographical significance: The highest peak of Tripura allows unique habitat ecosystem. Aesthetic value: View of Mizoram and Chittagon hill tracts, other hills of Jampui, orange orchards. Due to change in altitude, topography and climate the vegetation is totally unique compared to the mainland of the state.
- Biodiversity Significance: Highest floristic diversity in Tripura.
- Conservation significance: Suitable habitat for several red listed flora and fauna. Medicinal plant conservation area.
- Cultural significance: Diverse agro-ecosystem model.
AMARKANTAK @ MADHYA PRADESH
- Uniqueness: site is situated on the Maikal mountain range which links the Vindhyachal and Satpura mountain ranges, at about 1067 meters above mean sea level.
- Site has unique terrain of 1700 ft. deep valley and ecosystem of estimated age of 6 Million year and species of rare flora & fauna including rare Bryophytes and Pteridophytes.
- Amarkantak ecological system is the origin of three major rivers which contributes to water security of India, which need to be conserved.
HAJONG TORTOISE LAKE @ ASSAM
- This lake is a natural habitat of Critically Endangered freshwater ‘Black Softshell turtle’ Nilssonia nigricans and Endangered ‘Indian Peacock Softshell turtle’ Nilssonia hurum besides other major flora and fauna.
- This site also harbour the threatened species like Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Vulnerable Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Sambar (Rusa unicolor), Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus), Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) etc.
BORJULI WILD RICE SITE @ ASSAM
- Uniqueness: This BHS has a good population of wild species of rice -Oryza rufipogon.
- This is a unique site due to population richness of this species, but both are vulnerable to climate change and anthropogenic activities.
- The species (O. rufipogon) possess genes for disease and pest resistance, tolerance to submergence and salinity, thus, important resource in breeding and improvement of rice crop and many of our current varieties derive many genes from this species.
- Its in-situ conservation for evolutionary process and adaptation to changing climate is important. This will be wealth for posterity not only for India but for the whole world.
- Oryza rufipogon, the progenitor of present-day cultivated rice, O. sativa, is one of the most studied wild species of rice.
- It is a perennial plant commonly found in a marsh or aquatic habitats of eastern and southern Asia. O. rufipogon is photosensitive in nature and flowers during short days during the months of November and December.
- The seeds have a tendency to shatter as soon as they mature.
- It is tolerant of flooding and acidic soils.
ARITTAPATTI BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE SITE @ TAMIL NADU
- Uniqueness: This BHS has rich biological and historical significance with the presence of around 250 bird species including 3 flagship Raptor species – Laggar Falcon, Shaheen Falcon, Bonelli’s Eagle and wildlife like Indan Pangolin, Python and Slender Loris.
MAHENDRAGIRI HILL BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE SITE @ ODISHA
- Uniqueness: Mahendragiri hill is situated at an elevation between 700-1501 m above mean sea level in Gajapati district of Odisha. With increase altitude, the hill complex demonstrates several micro climatic conditions like tropical shola, tropical semievergreen, tropical moist-deciduous & tropical dry deciduous.
- The diversified vegetation with rich floral diversity representing 40% of the reported flora of Odisha.
- The ancient temples of Kunti, Shima, Arjuna and Yudhisthir at Mahendragiri have been declared as protected monuments under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological sites and Remains Act 1958 by the State Government.
- These monuments provide a sacred and holy background for receiving about one lakh devotees annually every year to worship the deities of the hill.
|State||Name of the BHS|
|Himachal Pradesh||1. Sacred Grove at Sural Bhatori Monastery
2. High Altitude Meadow in Chamba
3. Birch-pine Forest Patch
|Uttar Pradesh||1. Ghariyal Rehabilitation Centre|
|Madhya Pradesh||1. Naro Hills,
|Maharashtra||1. Glory of Allapalli,
2. Bambarde Myristica Swamps,
3. Ganeshkhind Garden,
5. Shistura Hiranyakeshi
|Meghalaya||1. Khlaw Kur Syiem KmieIng|
2. Hajong Tortoise Lake,
3. Borjuli Wild Rice Site
|Manipur||1. Dialong Village|
|Tripura||1. Baramura waterfall,
3. Silachari Caves,
4. Debbari or Chabimura,
5. Betlingshib & its surroundings
2. Mahendragiri hill
|West Bengal||1. Tonglu BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division,
2. Dhotrey BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division,
3. Chilkigarh Kanak Durga,
4. Baneswar Shiva Dighi
|Karnataka||1. Nallur Tamarind Grove,
3. University of Agricultural Sciences,
|Goa||1. Purvatali Rai|
|Tamil Nadu||1. Arittapatti|
|Telangana||1. Ameenpur lake|
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