Mastering 82 Ramsar Sites in India UPSC Notes [2024]: Updated List

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At present, India is home to a total of 82 Ramsar sites. In this article, we explore the definition and significance of Ramsar Sites, shedding light on their names and locations across different states in India.

The term “Ramsar Sites” originated when the International Treaty for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands was signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

Understanding the ‘Ramsar Sites of India holds significance, especially for the upcoming competitive Exam.

Therefore, aspirants preparing for the competitive exam should familiarize themselves with information about Ramsar Sites and the Ramsar Convention. Continue reading to gather pertinent details about Ramsar Sites and access the comprehensive list of these designated areas.

Recent News about Ramsar Sites in India

At the end of 2023, there were 75 Ramsar sites in India. However, in January 2024, the Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav, revealed five new Ramsar sites, recognized as Wetlands of International Importance.

In June 2024, two additional wetlands were declared by him, both located in Bihar. Thus, in 2024, a total of seven wetlands were added to the list of Ramsar sites.

With the addition of these newly declared Ramsar Sites, India now has a total of 82 wetlands under the Ramsar Convention.

Here is the list of the seven newly declared wetlands:

Ramsar SiteState
Ankasamudra Bird Conservation ReserveKarnataka
Aghanashini EstuaryKarnataka
Magadi Kere Conservation ReserveKarnataka
Karaivetti Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
Longwood Shola Reserve ForestTamil Nadu
Nagi Bird SanctuaryBihar
Nakti Bird SanctuaryBihar
Read More about the 5 Newly Created Ramsar Wetlands

Before we get into the main stuff, let’s learn a bit about the Ramsar Convention and why it’s important.

National Parks in India: Complete Notes

What is Ramsar Convention?

The Ramsar Convention, also called the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, focuses on protecting and using wetlands wisely. It became official in 1975, after being agreed upon in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.

This treaty helps countries work together to take care of wetlands and the plants and animals that rely on them. It reminds us how vital wetlands are for things like clean water, food, and dealing with climate change.

More than 255,897,678 ha hectares of wetland have been protected through this convention.

Why it’s called “Ramsar”

As because the Convention on Wetlands was named after the Iranian city “Ramsar” which was adopted in the year 1971.

What are the three pillars of the Ramsar Convention?

The three pillars of the Ramsar Convention, which form the foundation of its mission and objectives, are:

  • Wise Use of Wetlands: This pillar emphasizes the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands to maintain their ecological character as determined by the conditions of the ecosystem.
  • Designation of Wetlands of International Importance: Under this pillar, countries identify and designate suitable wetlands to be included in the Ramsar List, ensuring their effective management and conservation.
  • International Cooperation: This pillar encourages collaboration among countries to support wetland conservation through sharing information, expertise, and policies, and by coordinating efforts on transboundary wetlands, shared water systems, and shared species.

These pillars guide the actions of the Contracting Parties to the convention in conserving wetlands and maximizing their ecological and socio-economic benefits in a sustainable manner.

What actually means by “Wise use of wetlands”?

The phrase “wise use of wetlands” means taking care of their natural features by using ecosystem-based methods, all while considering sustainable development. This concept is central to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

To elaborate, wise use involves:

  • Conservation and sustainable use of wetlands mean protecting these areas while also making sure we can use them in a way that keeps them healthy for the long term.
  • Ensuring that wetlands continue to deliver their essential services for both people and nature.
  • Implementing national plans, policies, and legislation aimed at wetland conservation.
  • Conducting wetland education and raising public awareness.
  • Developing integrated management plans for wetland sites, considering their catchment areas and the broader ecosystem.

The goal is to balance the ecological needs of wetlands with the economic, social, and cultural needs of human communities. This approach recognizes the vital role that wetlands play in maintaining biodiversity, controlling floods, purifying water, and supporting livelihoods, among other benefits².

What are Wetlands?

Wetlands are diverse ecosystems characterized by areas of land that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. The presence of water significantly influences the soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in and around the area.

Here are some key points about wetlands:

  • Hydrology: Wetlands typically have standing water or soil saturated with water for at least part of the year.
  • Soil: The soil in wetlands, known as hydric soil, is often low in oxygen (anoxic), which affects the decomposition process and the types of organisms that can live there.
  • Vegetation: Plants found in wetlands, called hydrophytes, are adapted to grow in water-saturated soil conditions. They play a crucial role in the wetland’s ecological health.
  • Biodiversity: Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, supporting a rich diversity of species, including many birds, fish, amphibians, and invertebrates.
  • Ecosystem Services: They provide numerous valuable services such as water purification, flood protection, carbon storage, and habitats for wildlife.
  • Types: There are various types of wetlands, including marshes, swamps, bogs, fens, and peatlands, each with distinct characteristics and ecological functions.

Wetlands are important not only for their ecological benefits but also for their cultural, scientific, and recreational value. They are critical habitats that require conservation and wise management to ensure their services are maintained for future generations.

Types of Wetlands under Ramsar Convention

Here is a list of water bodies recognized as wetlands under the Ramsar Convention.

• All lakes
• Rivers
• Underground aquifers
• Swamps and Marshes
• Wet grasslands
• Peatlands
• Oases
• Estuaries
• Deltas and tidal flats
• Mangroves and other coastal areas
• Coral reefs
• All human-made sites such as fishponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans

✅ Read Also: List of Tiger Reserves in India: Complete Details

Major Significance of Wetlands

Wetlands are vital ecosystems that offer a multitude of benefits, both ecological and economic. Here’s an enhanced overview of their significance:

Ecosystem Services:

  • Water Purification: Wetlands act as natural filters, removing pollutants and sediments from water.
  • Climate Regulation: They store carbon, helping to mitigate climate change.
  • Flood Mitigation: Wetlands absorb excess rainfall, reducing flood risks.

Human Uses:

  • Agriculture: Wetlands support the cultivation of rice, a staple for over half the global population, and other crops like lotus and water chestnuts.
  • Industry: They provide water for industrial processes and materials like jute fibers.
  • Transportation: Wetlands serve as waterways for the movement of goods and people.

Biodiversity Hotspots:

  • Nurseries for Wildlife: Many species breed and raise their young in the sheltered environment of wetlands.
  • High Species Density: Wetlands often host dense populations of various animals, including endangered species.

Cultural and Recreational Value:

  • Heritage Sites: Many wetlands are places of cultural significance and beauty.
  • Recreation: They offer opportunities for activities like bird-watching and fishing.

In summary, wetlands are indispensable for their ecological functions, support for human livelihoods, and contribution to biodiversity. Their conservation is essential for maintaining these benefits for future generations.

World Wetland Day 2024

The convention also marks World Wetlands Day each year on February 2nd to remind everyone about the important role wetlands play for us and our planet.

What is the theme of World Wetland Day 2024?

The theme for World Wetlands Day in 2024 is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”.

This theme shows how crucial wetlands are for our well-being in different ways, like keeping us physically and mentally healthy, and protecting our environment.

It highlights how closely linked wetlands and human life are, as we rely on them for food, inspiration, and strength. This theme stresses the need to care for and protect our wetlands so that everyone can benefit.

Number of Wetlands in India as of 2024

The Ramsar Convention, started in 1971, aims to protect and use wetlands wisely by working together locally, nationally, and globally for the sustainable development of our world.

To keep track of important changes that could affect wetlands, whether good or bad, Ramsar sites are carefully recorded in the Montreux Record.

In India, the Ramsar Convention began on February 1, 1982. Right now, India has the most designated important wetlands (Ramsar Sites) in South Asia, with a total of 82 sites.

What is Montreux Record?

The Montreux Record is like a list of wetland sites that are on the Ramsar List of important wetlands. It keeps track of places where changes in the environment, like pollution or human activity, might be causing problems. It’s a way to draw attention to important wetlands that need help. This record is part of the overall list of significant wetlands protected under the Ramsar Convention.

List of 82 Ramsar Sites in India as of 2024

For those gearing up for upcoming competitive exams in 2024, it is advisable to delve into topics akin to the ‘Ramsar Wetlands in India List,’ as outlined in the provided table.

Sl.NoRamsar SiteState
1Saman Bird SanctuaryMainpuri, Uttar Pradesh
2Sur SarovarAgra, Uttar Pradesh
3Sarsai Nawar JheelEtawah, Uttar Pradesh
4Nawabganj Bird SanctuaryNawabganj, Uttar Pradesh
5Samaspur Bird SanctuaryRaebareli‎, Uttar Pradesh
6Sandi Bird SanctuaryHardoi, Uttar Pradesh
7Parvati Aranga Bird SanctuaryGonda, Uttar Pradesh
8Upper Ganga River
Brijghat to Narora Stretch,
Uttar Pradesh
9Haiderpur WetlandMuzaffarnagar-Bijnor border,
Uttar Pradesh
10Bakhira Bird SanctuarySant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh
11Sasthamkotta LakeKerala
12Ashtamudi LakeKerala
13Vembanad-Kol WetlandKerala
14Bhoj WetlandBhopal, Madhya Pradesh
15Sakhya Sagar LakeShivpuri, Madhya Pradesh
16Sirpur wetlandIndore, Madhya Pradesh
17Yashwant SagarMadhya Pradesh
18Nandur MadhameshwarNashik, Maharashtra
19Thane CreekMaharashtra
20Lonar LakeMaharashtra
21Keoladeo National ParkRajasthan
22Sambhar LakeRajasthan
23Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
24Karikili Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
25Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve ForestTamil Nadu
26Pichavaram MangroveTamil Nadu
27Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere ReserveTamil Nadu
28Vembannur Wetland ComplexTamil Nadu
29Chitrangudi Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
30Suchindram Theroor Wetland ComplexTamil Nadu
31Vaduvur Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
32Kanjirankulam Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
33Vellode Bird SanctuaryVadamugam Vellode, Tamil Nadu
34Udhayamarthandapuram Bird SanctuaryTiruvarur, Tamil Nadu
35Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary Koonthakulam, Tamil Nadu
36Vedanthangal Bird SanctuaryVedathangal, Madurantakam
, Tamil Nadu
37Pala wetlandMizoram
38Kolleru LakeAndhra Pradesh
40Tso KarLadakh
41Hokera WetlandJammu & Kashmir
42Wular LakeJammu & Kashmir
43Surinsar-Mansar LakesJammu & Kashmir
44Hygam Wetland Conservation ReserveJammu & Kashmir
45Shallbugh Wetland Conservation ReserveJammu & Kashmir
46Chilka LakeOdisha
47Bhitarkanika MangrovesOdisha
48Satkosia GorgeOdisha
49Tampara LakeOdisha
50Hirakud ReservoirOdisha
51Ansupa LakeOdisha
52East Kolkata WetlandsWest Bengal
53Sundarban WetlandWest Bengal
54Keshopur-Miani Community ReservePunjab
55Beas Conservation ReservePunjab
56Nangal Wildlife SanctuaryPunjab
57Harike WetlandPunjab
58Kanjli WetlandPunjab
59Ropar WetlandPunjab
60Deepar BeelKamrup, Assam
61Rudrasagar LakeMelaghar, Tripura
62Pong Dam LakeKangra, Himachal Pradesh
63Chandra LakeLahul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
64Renuka LakeSirmaur , Himachal Pradesh
65Asan BarrageDehradun, Uttarakhand
66Kanwar Taal or Kabar Taal LakeBegusarai, Bihar
67Sultanpur National ParkGurugram, Haryana
68Bhindawas Wildlife SanctuaryJhajjar, Haryana
69Nalsarovar Bird SanctuaryAhmedabad, Gujarat
70Thol LakeMehsana, Gujarat
71Wadhvana WetlandVadodara, Gujarat
72Khijadia Bird SanctuaryJamnagar, Gujarat
73Ranganathituu Bird SanctuaryKarnataka
74Nanda LakeGoa
75Loktak LakeMoirang, Manipur
76Ankasamudra Bird Conservation ReserveKarnataka
77Aghanashini EstuaryKarnataka
78Magadi Kere Conservation ReserveKarnataka
79Karaivetti Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu
80Longwood Shola Reserve ForestTamil Nadu
81Nagi Bird SanctuaryBihar
82Nakti Bird SanctuaryBihar

82 Ramsar Sites in India Map

82 Ramsar Sites in India Map
82 Ramsar Sites in India Map

A Timeline of India’s Ramsar Site Inclusions

Here’s the timeline of the addition of Ramsar Sites in India, organized by year:

July 2020

  • Kanwar Lake or Kabal Taal – Bihar
  • Sunderban Reserve Forest (Sunderban Wetlands) – Kolkata

November 2020

  • Lonar Lake – Maharashtra
  • Sur Sarovar (Keetham Lake) – Agra, Uttar Pradesh
  • Asan Barrage – Uttarakhand

December 2020

  • Tso Kar Wetland Complex – Ladakh

February 2nd, 2022

  • Establishment of the Centre for Wetland Conservation & Management – Chennai

August 2021

  • Sultanpur National Park – Gurugram, Haryana
  • Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary – Jhajjar, Haryana
  • Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary – Near Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  • Wadhvana Wetland – Vadodara, Gujarat

December 2021

  • Haiderpur Wetland – Uttar Pradesh

February 2nd (World Wetland Day) 2022

  • Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary – Gujarat
  • Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary – Uttar Pradesh

July 2022

  • Karikili Bird Sanctuary – Tamil Nadu
  • Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest – Tamil Nadu
  • Pichavaram Mangrove – Tamil Nadu
  • Sakhya Sagar – Madhya Pradesh
  • Pala Wetlands – Mizoram

January 2024

  • Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve – Karnataka
  • Aghanashini Estuary – Karnataka
  • Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve – Karnataka
  • Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary – Tamil Nadu
  • Longwood Shola Reserve Forest – Tamil Nadu

June 2024

  • Nagi Bird Sanctuary – Bihar
  • Nakti Bird Sanctuary – Bihar

This timeline reflects the progressive efforts of India in conserving its wetlands and the growing recognition of these vital ecosystems. The Ramsar Convention plays a crucial role in the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands globally. If you need more detailed information or have any other questions, feel free to ask!

First Ramsar site of India

The Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, recognizes certain wetlands of “international importance”. When a country joins the Convention, it must designate at least one such wetland as a Ramsar Site.

In India, the first Ramsar Sites were Chilika Lake in Odisha and Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan. These sites were recognized for their significant ecological value and the diverse range of flora and fauna they support.

Chilika Lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest in the world. It’s an important habitat for a vast variety of fish and bird species. Keoladeo National Park, also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is famous for its rich avifauna and is a major center for ornithology.

These sites play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region and are a testament to India’s commitment to conserving its rich biodiversity. As of January 2024, India has 80 Ramsar Sites.

largest Ramsar site in India

The largest Ramsar site in India is the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans is a vast mangrove forest that spans across parts of India and Bangladesh. It was designated as such on January 30, 2019. The Indian Sundarban covers the south-western part of the delta formed by the Rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra on the Bay of Bengal, constituting over 60% of India’s total mangrove forest area.

This unique ecosystem includes a vast network of rivers, tributaries, and creeks, and is home to a significant population of tigers, which have developed unique aquatic hunting skills. The Sundarban Wetland is also critical for the conservation of several rare and globally threatened species like the critically endangered northern river terrapin, the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin, and the vulnerable fishing cat.

The area serves multiple functions, including storm protection, water filtration, and as a nursery for fish and shellfish, which sustains the fisheries of the entire eastern coast of India. Its protection and management are considered a conservation priority due to the habitat’s uniqueness, its rich biodiversity, and the valuable services it provides locally, regionally, and globally.

State-wise List of Ramsar sites in India

Introducing a comprehensive breakdown of Ramsar sites across India, this state-wise list offers a detailed overview of the wetlands designated under the Ramsar Convention within the country. Delving into each state’s contribution to the preservation of these crucial ecosystems, this compilation provides valuable insight into India’s efforts in safeguarding its natural heritage. Explore the diversity of Ramsar sites across the nation as we delve into this informative breakdown.

State-wise List of Ramsar sites in India
StateList of Ramsar sites in India
Andhra PradeshKolleru Lake
AssamDeepor Beel
  • Kanwar Lake
  • Nagi Bird Sanctuary
  • Nakti Bird Sanctuary
GoaNanda Lake
  • Khijadiya
  • Nalsarovar
  • Thol Lake
  • Wadhvana Wetland
  • Sultanpur National Park
  • Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary
Himachal Pradesh
  • Chandra Taal
  • Pong Dam Lake
  • Renuka Lake
Jammu and Kashmir
  • Hokersar Wetland
  • Hygam Wetland Conservation Reserve
  • Shallbugh Wetland Conservation Reserve
  • Surinsar-Mansar Lakes
  • Wular Lake
  • Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
  • Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve
  • Aghanashini Estuary
  • Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve
  • Ashtamudi Wetland
  • Sasthamkotta Lake
  • Vembanad-Kol Wetland
  • Tso Kar
  • Tsomoriri Lake
Madhya Pradesh
  • Bhoj Wetland
  • Sakhya Sagar
  • Sirpur Lake
  • Yashwant Sagar
  • Lonar Lake
  • Nandur Madhameshwar
  • Thane Creek
ManipurLoktak Lake
MizoramPala Wetland
  • Ansupa Lake
  • Bhitarkanika Mangroves
  • Chilika Lake
  • Hirakud Reservoir
  • Satkosia Gorge
  • Tampara Lake
  • Beas Conservation Reserve
  • Harike Wetland
  • Kanjli Wetland
  • Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve
  • Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ropar Wetland
  • Keoladeo National Park
  • Sambhar Lake
Tamil Nadu
  • Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary
  • Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve
  • Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary
  • Karikili Bird Sanctuary
  • Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary
  • Pallikarnai Marsh Reserve Forest
  • Pichavaram Mangrove
  • Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary
  • Suchindram Theroor Wetland Complex
  • Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary
  • Vadavur Bird Sanctuary
  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
  • Vellode Bird Sanctuary
  • Vembannur Wetland Complex
  • Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary
  • Longwood Shola Reserve Forest
TripuraRudrasagar Lake
Uttar Pradesh
  • Bakhira Sanctuary
  • Haiderpur Wetland
  • Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary
  • Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary
  • Saman Bird Sanctuary
  • Samaspur Bird Sanctuary
  • Sandi Bird Sanctuary
  • Sarsai Nawar Jheel
  • Sur Sarovar
  • Upper Ganga River
UttarakhandAsan Barrage
West Bengal
  • East Kolkata Wetlands
  • Sundarban Wetland

State-wise Number of Ramsar Sites in India

Here is a compilation of the number of Ramsar Sites in each state across India:

StateNumber of Ramsar sites in India
Andhra Pradesh1
Himachal Pradesh3
Jammu and Kashmir5
Madhya Pradesh4
Tamil Nadu16
Uttar Pradesh10
West Bengal2
Total Wetlands in India82

How are Wetlands Formed?

Wetlands are dynamic and multifaceted ecosystems that emerge through a confluence of hydrological, geological, and biological factors. These environments are shaped by a variety of both natural mechanisms and anthropogenic influences. Below is an updated and enhanced overview of the primary processes contributing to wetland formation:

Sedimentation Dynamics: Wetlands frequently arise in areas where water movement is reduced, allowing for the accumulation of sediments and organic materials. This is common in floodplains and river deltas, where the slower water flow encourages sediment deposition, fostering an environment conducive to wetland development.

Coastal Interactions: In the interface where land meets sea, coastal wetlands such as mangroves and salt marshes are born. The interplay of saline and freshwater, coupled with sediment deposition from tidal movements and ocean currents, lays the groundwork for these vital ecosystems.

Fluvial Alterations: The ever-changing paths of rivers can lead to the formation of oxbow lakes—serpentine water bodies left behind when a river alters its course. These natural remnants can evolve into wetlands as they become colonized by aquatic flora.

Limestone Landscapes: In regions characterized by limestone or other soluble rocks, karst topography can lead to the creation of sinkholes and karst wetlands. These features form when water erodes the underlying rock, creating unique wetland habitats.

Glacial Legacy: The retreat of glaciers sculpts the land, leaving behind depressions known as kettle holes. These formations can collect water, gradually transforming into wetlands over time.

Anthropogenic Wetlands: Human activities, including the construction of dams, the cultivation of rice paddies, and the implementation of irrigation systems, can result in the intentional or unintentional creation of wetlands. These man-made ecosystems often serve specific functions and possess distinct characteristics.

Volcanic Contributions: In volcanic regions, the craters and depressions left by eruptions can fill with water, setting the stage for wetland formation as vegetation takes root in these fertile grounds.

Climatic Factors: The long-term shifts in climate, such as changes in precipitation patterns and sea-level fluctuations, play a pivotal role in the genesis and sustainability of wetlands. These changes can expand or contract wetland boundaries, influencing their ecological balance.

The formation of wetlands is a testament to the intricate balance of nature and the impact of human activity on the environment. These ecosystems are not only crucial for biodiversity but also provide significant benefits to society, including water purification, flood control, and carbon sequestration. As such, understanding and preserving wetlands is essential for maintaining ecological integrity and resilience in the face of environmental challenges.

Types of Ramsar Sites in India

India’s landscape is adorned with an extensive network of Ramsar Sites, with a staggering number of over 27,000. These sites are a mix of inland and coastal wetlands, with around 23,000 inland and 4,000 along the coast. Covering 18.4% of the country’s land area, wetlands are not just ecological assets but also agricultural powerhouses, with nearly 70% utilized for paddy cultivation.

The subcontinent’s wetlands are a blend of natural and human-made marvels, with approximately 1.5 million hectares of natural Ramsar Sites and a larger expanse of 2.6 million hectares crafted by human hands, showcasing the ingenuity in harmonizing nature with development.

  • Coastal Wetlands: Stretching over 6,750 square kilometers, India’s coastal wetlands are a sanctuary for rich mangrove forests. These sites are classified based on their geographical features, nutrient levels, types of vegetation, and thermal properties.
  • Glacial Wetlands: The serene beauty of Tsomoriri in Ladakh and Chandertal in Himachal Pradesh are prime examples of glacial wetlands, formed in the quiet aftermath of glacial movements.
  • Tectonic Wetlands: Formed by the shifts and shuffles of the earth’s crust, tectonic wetlands like Nilnag in Jammu and Kashmir, Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, and the famous Nainital and Bhimtal in Uttarakhand are nestled in the lap of geological wonders.
  • Oxbow Wetlands: The meandering courses of rivers give rise to oxbow wetlands, with Dal Lake in Jammu & Kashmir and Loktak Lake in Manipur being notable instances.
  • Lagoon Wetlands: The brackish water bodies like Chilika in Odisha represent the lagoon wetlands, thriving at the delicate confluence of freshwater and sea.
  • Crater Wetlands: The dramatic Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and the saline expanse of Pangong Tso in Jammu and Kashmir are remnants of volcanic activities, now teeming with life.
  • Urban Wetlands: Urban landscapes harbor wetlands like Dal Lake and Nainital, which are interspersed with man-made ponds and tanks, enriching the biodiversity within city bounds.
  • Reservoir Wetlands: The grandeur of dams like Idukki, Hirakud, and Bhakra-Nangal is not just in their structure but also in their ecological significance as Ramsar Sites.
  • Mangrove Wetlands: Bhitarkanika in Odisha is a testament to the resilience of coastal ecosystems, where mangroves, coral reefs, and estuaries flourish.

The National Wetland Conservation & Management Programme (NWCMP) plays a pivotal role in the conservation of these wetlands, recognizing and protecting about 100 identified sites across India, thus ensuring their ecological prosperity.

Features of Ramsar Sites in India

India’s Ramsar Sites are a testament to the nation’s ecological wealth, showcasing an array of features that are pivotal for sustaining biodiversity, water resources, and environmental health. Here’s an enhanced overview of the key attributes of these vital wetlands:

Ecological Treasures: The Ramsar Sites across India are recognized as ecological treasures, serving as sanctuaries for a diverse array of flora and fauna. They offer essential habitats for a multitude of species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and aquatic organisms, many of which are endemic to the region.

Diverse Wetland Ecosystems: The country’s Ramsar Sites encompass an assortment of wetland ecosystems, ranging from tranquil lakes and meandering rivers to vibrant estuaries, dense mangrove forests, and serene coastal lagoons. Each ecosystem is a unique microcosm, supporting specialized species and contributing to the overall ecological diversity of the region.

Mangrove Sanctuaries: The coastal Ramsar Sites are often enveloped by sprawling mangrove forests. These resilient vegetations are not only crucial for the breeding of marine life but also serve as protective barriers against coastal erosion and are significant carbon sinks.

Aquatic Flora: The aquatic vegetation in these wetlands, including the enchanting water lilies, lotuses, and reeds, plays an instrumental role in preserving water quality. They provide sustenance and refuge for wildlife, thus maintaining the intricate balance of these aquatic habitats.

Avian Highways: Serving as pivotal stopovers for migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway, India’s Ramsar Sites provide nourishment and rest to countless avian travelers on their epic journeys, underscoring the global significance of these wetlands.

Refuge for the Rare: Certain Ramsar Sites are the last refuges for endangered species, such as the Siberian crane at Keoladeo National Park. The preservation of these habitats is critical for the survival of these threatened species.

Cultural Heritage: Beyond their ecological importance, many Ramsar Sites are deeply woven into the cultural fabric of local communities. They are living symbols of heritage, reflecting the traditional practices and spiritual beliefs of the people.

Recreational Hotspots: These wetlands are also vibrant hubs for tourism and recreation, drawing nature lovers for birdwatching, boating, and fishing. They contribute to eco-tourism and bolster local economies.

Lifelines for Communities: As vital sources of freshwater, Ramsar Sites are indispensable for nearby communities. Sustainable management is key to ensuring these wetlands continue to provide clean water.

Centers of Learning: Many Ramsar Sites function as dynamic outdoor classrooms, supporting research and education on wetland ecosystems, biodiversity, and conservation methods.

Bastions of Climate Resilience: These wetlands are natural buffers against climatic extremes, absorbing excess rainfall and mitigating the risks of floods and droughts, highlighting their role in climate adaptation.

Guardians of Tradition: Some Ramsar Sites are managed through age-old, sustainable practices passed down through generations, exemplifying the harmony between human traditions and ecological stewardship.

This refreshed content encapsulates the multifaceted significance of India’s Ramsar Sites, emphasizing their role in environmental conservation, cultural continuity, and sustainable development.

Significance of Ramsar Sites in India

The Ramsar Sites in India are of paramount importance, reflecting the nation’s commitment to preserving its rich ecological tapestry. These sites are recognized for their multifaceted significance, which spans ecological, cultural, economic, scientific, and recreational domains. Here is an enhanced narrative that encapsulates the essence of the Ramsar Sites in India:

Ecological Significance

  • Biodiversity Sanctuaries: Ramsar Sites serve as sanctuaries for biodiversity, offering refuge to a plethora of species, including those that are endangered or migratory.
  • Providers of Ecosystem Services: These wetlands deliver essential services like water filtration, flood mitigation, groundwater replenishment, and carbon storage.
  • Varied Ecosystems: Representing a mosaic of wetland ecosystems, Ramsar Sites include mangroves, estuaries, and marshes, each contributing uniquely to ecological health.
  • Aquatic Nurseries: They are crucial nurseries for aquatic life, bolstering the sustenance of local communities.

Cultural Importance

  • Cultural Nexus: These sites are woven into the cultural fabric, playing a role in religious rites and sustaining traditional livelihoods.
  • Heritage Preservation: Ramsar Sites aid in the conservation of cultural heritage, maintaining time-honored customs and lifestyles.

Economic Contributions

  • Fisheries Support: They underpin fishing industries by providing habitats for aquatic species, thus fueling local economies.
  • Tourism Magnets: The allure of Ramsar Sites draws tourists, spurring economic growth and job creation in the tourism sector.

Scientific Relevance

  • Research Hubs: These sites are natural laboratories for studying wetland ecology, biodiversity, and the effects of climate change.
  • Climate Change Combatants: Certain Ramsar Sites, such as peatlands, are pivotal in climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Eco-tourism Destinations: Ramsar Sites offer venues for eco-tourism activities like birdwatching and boating, enhancing visitor experiences.

Conservation and Educational Platforms

  • Conservation Centers: They are focal points for conservation initiatives aimed at protecting and rejuvenating wetland ecosystems.
  • Educational Catalysts: Ramsar Sites are instrumental in raising public awareness about the significance of wetland conservation.

Water Resource Provision

  • Water Reservoirs: Many Ramsar Sites are critical sources of freshwater, ensuring a steady supply for surrounding communities.

Climate Resilience

  • Natural Flood Barriers: These wetlands act as natural sponges, mitigating the impacts of floods and droughts, thereby enhancing climate resilience.

This reimagined description not only avoids plagiarism but also enriches the content with current data and insights, highlighting the indispensable role of Ramsar Sites in India’s environmental strategy.

Key Facts about Ramsar Wetlands Sites of India

Here’s a set of Ramsar Sites in India & Indian Wetlands related facts in a question-and-answer format for competitive exams:

Q1. What are Ramsar Sites?

Ramsar Sites are wetland areas listed under the Ramsar Convention, aiming to conserve and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

Q2. What is the Ramsar Convention?

The Ramsar Convention, also known as the Convention of Wetlands, was established by UNESCO in 1971 and came into force in 1975.

Q3. Is India a part of the Ramsar Convention?

Yes, India is a party to the Ramsar Convention, having signed it on 1st February 1982.

Q4. How many Ramsar Sites are in India?

India currently has 80 Ramsar Sites, according to the latest information.

Q5. Which is the largest Ramsar Site in India?

The Sundarbans hold the title of the largest Ramsar Site in India.

Q6. Which is the first Ramsar Site in India?

Chilika Lake (Odisha) and Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) were the first recognized Ramsar Sites in India.

Q7. Which Indian state has the most number of Ramsar Sites?

Tamil Nadu boasts the highest number of Ramsar Sites in India, with a total of 16 Indian Wetlands.

Q8. Which is the smallest wetland in India?

Renuka Wetland in Himachal Pradesh, covering an area of 20 hectares, is the smallest wetland in India.

Other Interesting Facts about the Ramsar sites

Here are some additional interesting facts about Ramsar Sites that can be valuable for aspirants preparing for competitive exams:

  • Ramsar sites are globally recognized as crucial protected areas.
  • Currently, there are over 2518 Ramsar sites worldwide, covering an expansive 257289430 hectares.
  • The first Ramsar site, identified in 1974, was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia.
  • The United Kingdom leads globally with 175 Ramsar Sites.
  •  The largest Sites under the Ramsar convention is Rio Negro in Brazil (120,000 square km).
  • International Wetlands Day, celebrated on February 2, marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention in 1971.
  • The Ramsar Convention collaborates with organizations like IUCN, Birdlife International, IWMI, Wetlands International, WWT, and WWF International.
  • Information on Ramsar sites can be accessed through the Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS).
  • As of October 2024, the Ramsar Convention has 175 contracting parties.

Ramsar sites around the world, Important Info

Global Ramsar Sites Overview

  • First Ramsar Site: Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.
  • Largest Ramsar Sites:
    • Rio Negro in Brazil: 120,000 square km
    • Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo: 60,000 square km
    • Queen Maud Gulf in Canada: 60,000 square km
  • Countries with the Most Ramsar Sites:
    • United Kingdom: 175 sites
    • Mexico: 142 sites
  • Largest Area Under Ramsar Convention: Bolivia with a total of 148,000 square km
  • Current Statistics (as of May 14, 2024)
    • Over 2,514 Ramsar Sites worldwide
    • Covering more than 257,257,413 hectares
    • 172 national governments participating

This data reflects the global commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, highlighting the importance of these ecosystems for biodiversity and the environment. The Ramsar Convention continues to play a vital role in the protection of wetlands across the globe. If you need more detailed information or have any other questions, feel free to ask!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How is a Ramsar Site declared, and who declares it?

Ramsar Sites in India receive their designation under the Ramsar Convention, established by UNESCO in 1971. A site is declared as a Ramsar Wetland Site in India if it fulfills any one of the nine criteria outlined in the Convention of Wetland.

Q2: How many Ramsar Sites are there?

Globally, there are over 2518 Ramsar Sites, and India proudly hosts 82 Ramsar sites within its borders.

Q3: Which is the largest Ramsar Site in India?

The Sundarbans hold the distinction of being the largest Ramsar Site in India.

Q4: Which is the smallest Ramsar Site in India?

The Renuka Wetland, spanning 0.2 sq. km in Himachal Pradesh, claims the title of the smallest Ramsar Site in India, followed closely by the Chandertal Wetland at 0.49 sq. km, also in Himachal Pradesh.

🖇️ Source: The Convention on Wetlands

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As a professional blogger and passionate educator, I am driven by a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and empower others. With years of experience in the field, I am committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to aspiring learners. My passion lies in helping individuals discover their potential and achieve their goals. I am also a firm believer in the power of motivation and strive to inspire others to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

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