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INDIA ADDS TSO KAR WETLAND COMPLEX TO RAMSAR SITE

INDIA ADDS TSO KAR WETLAND COMPLEX TO RAMSAR SITE

Context

India has added Tso Kar wetland complex to the Ramsar Site.

Details

  • Tso Kar, the 42nd Wetland of International Importance, is at more than 4,500 metres above sea level in the Changthang region of Ladakh.
  • The complex includes two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the larger hypersaline Tso Kar, with the presentation of a notable example of two such lakes existing in close proximity. 
  • The name Tso Kar refers to the white salt efflorescence on the margins of the lake caused by the evaporation of the saline waters.
  • The local climate is arid, and glacial meltwater is the primary water source for the lakes.
  • The lakes and in particular the presence of freshwater attract biodiversity in a biologically sparse region.
  • The site is the habitat of numerous threatened species including the endangered saker falcon (Falco cherrug) and Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus laniger), and the vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia).
  • The Site also acts as an important stopover ground for migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway and is one of the most important breeding areas in India for the black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis).

Definition of Wetland: Areas of the marsh, fen, peatland/water, whether natural (or) artificial, permanent (or) temporary with water that is static (or) flowing, fresh, brackish (or) salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6 meters.

  • Wetlands are transition zones (ecotone) between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
  • India currently has 37 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). According to India State of Forest Report, 2019, India has 62,466 wetlands covering 3.83 per cent of its recorded forest area.

CONSERVATION OF WETLANDS

  • Ramsar Convention is a contract among 90 countries aiming at conserving wetlands across the world which was signed at Ramsar in Iran in 1971 and became operational in 1975.
  • It aims to develop a global network of wetlands for the conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
  • Montreux Record is the principal tool under the Ramsar Convention, is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance, where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. Keoladeo National Park-Rajasthan, Loktak Lake – Manipur are included in Montreux Record.
  • Ramsar Sites: Under the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971), each Contracting Party undertakes to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
  • There are over 2,000 "Ramsar Sites" on the territories of over 160 Contracting Parties across the world.

RAMSAR SITES IN INDIA

  • Largest Ramsar Sites in India: Sundarbans Wetland (West Bengal), Vembanad Kol Wetland (Kerala) and Chika Lake (Odisha).
  • Smallest Ramsar Sites in India: Renuka Wetland (Himachal Pradesh).
  • Oldest Ramsar Sites in India: Keoladeo National Park-Rajasthan (1981) and Chilka Lake-Odisha (1981).
  • New Ramsar Sites in India: Nandur Madhameshwar in Maharashtra, Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal in Punjab, Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar in Uttar Pradesh were declared by Ramsar Convention as sites of “international importance” in January 2020.
  • States with Highest Ramsar Sites: Uttar Pradesh (7) > Punjab (6).

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