Wetlands are areas of land that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. They play a crucial role in maintaining the health of ecosystems and are home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. Here are some key points on wetlands and the Ramsar concept of ‘wise use’:
• Ramsar Convention: The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The convention was adopted in 1971 in the city of Ramsar, Iran, and has been signed by 171 countries.
• ‘Wise use’ concept: The Ramsar Convention promotes the concept of ‘wise use,’ which means the sustainable use of wetlands for the benefit of present and future generations. The concept recognizes that wetlands provide a range of economic, social, and environmental benefits and must be managed in a way that balances these benefits with their conservation.
• Ramsar sites in India: India has 41 Ramsar sites, including wetlands of international importance. Two examples are:
- Chilika Lake: Located in the state of Odisha, Chilika Lake is the largest brackish water lake in India and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is also an important habitat for migratory birds and supports the livelihoods of local communities.
- Keoladeo National Park: Located in the state of Rajasthan, Keoladeo National Park is a wetland that was designated a Ramsar site in 1981. It is home to over 350 bird species and is recognized as one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the world.
In summary, wetlands are critical ecosystems that provide a range of benefits, and the Ramsar Convention promotes their conservation through the concept of ‘wise use.’ India has several Ramsar sites, including Chilika Lake and Keoladeo National Park, which are important for their biodiversity and the livelihoods of local communities.