Wetlands

 

Context:

  • World Wetlands Day celebrated at Sultanpur National Park
  • Two more wetlands of International Importance takes Ramsar sites numbers to 49 in India
  • Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav on World Wetlands Day 2022 stated that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is taking affirmative action, involving communities and citizens, in halting and reversing wetlands degradation and loss.

 

About Wetlands:

  • Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently.
  • They include mangroves, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, coral reefs, marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide, as well as human-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs.
  • Though they cover only around 6% of the Earth’s land surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands.

About Sultanpur National Park

  • Sultanpur National Park is a bird paradise for bird watchers. It is famous for its migratory as well as resident birds.
  • Migratory birds start arriving in the park in September. Birds use the park as a resting place till the following March-April.
  • During summer and monsoon months the park is inhabited by many local bird species.
  • In April 1971, the Sultanpur Jheel inside the park (an area of 1.21 sq. Km.) was accorded Sanctuary status under section 8 of the Punjab Wildlife Preservation Act of 1959.
  • The status of the park was upgraded to National Park under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 in July 1991.

 

Importance of wetlands:
  • Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems that provide the world with nearly two-thirds of its fish harvest.
  • Wetlands play an integral role in the ecology of the watershed. The combination of shallow water, high levels of nutrients is ideal for the development of organisms that form the base of the food web and feed many species of fish, amphibians, shellfish and insects.
  • Wetlands’ microbes, plants and wildlife are part of global cycles for water, nitrogen and sulphur. Wetlands store carbon within their plant communities and soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
  • Wetlands function as natural barriers that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters. Wetland vegetation also slow the speed of flood waters lowering flood heights and reduces soil erosion.
  • Wetlands are critical to human and planet life. More than one billion people depend on them for a living and 40% of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands.

Source: THE HINDU.

 

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