Wetlands are among the most productive
ecosystems in the world and their functions include flood control,
aquifer recharge, nutrient absorption, and erosion control. A great
variety of species depend on wetlands. Most of these wetlands are
essentially natural ecosystems stabilized over the years, and have
retained their natural characteristics. However, years of uncontrolled
encroachment have degraded many wetlands.
It is calculated that since 1990 nearly half of the world’s wetlands
have been destroyed. In India, it is estimated that only 58 million ha
of wetlands remain and many have been degraded requiring restoration.
In an ideal situation, it would be most appropriate to maintain
natural process to restore degraded wetlands, however, that may often
not be allowed to happen due to continuing pressures on the resources.
In such case, planned restoration is an useful tool to protect,
improve, increase wetlands and return them to their natural state thus
ensuring continuing environmental health.
predominant wetland types in India include flood plains of major
rivers, estuaries, saline expanses, freshwater lakes, backwaters,
mangroves, tanks, marshes, swamps, jheels, beels, terai,
and man-made water bodies like reservoirs. These wetlands are under
threat due to encroachment, silting, weed infestation, pollution, and
indiscriminate development of aquaculture. The combined threat of
these factors has given rise to problems such as decrease in
biological diversity, deterioration of water quality, sedimentation
and shrinkage in area. It has also led to decrease in migratory bird
populations, fish and other faunal productivity and prolific growth of
invasive aquatic weeds.
Of the 1230
bird species found in India, around 23% are totally wetland dependent.
Fulfilling the food and habitat requirements of
these waterbirds is one of the most important functions performed by
wetlands as it helps to maintain biodiversity globally. Protection and
conservation of major wetlands, critically important to waterfowl on
their traditional migratory flyways, is an urgent need.
Unfortunately, many important wetlands are threatened, and waterbirds
are under pressure from increasing human population, socio-economic
activities, and man-induced adverse natural phenomena. In the
circumstances, it is important to see that the wetland habitats of
various waterbirds are properly conserved through scientific
management. Sound management of such habitats is only possible by
using available information on existing habitat components.
Santragachi, Howrah, WB
Purbasthali, Burdwan, WB
Chittaranjan, Burdwan, WB
Salt Lake, Kolkata
Sunderbans, 24 Parganas, WB
West Bengal Coast
Bhagirathi River, Burdwan/Nadia,
Bharatpur ~ Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Rajasthan
Sultanpur ~ Sultanpur Lake National Park, Haryana
Chambal ~ National Chambal Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh
Harike ~ Harike Lake,
Bhindawas ~ Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary, Haryana
Sewri Bay, Mumbai