Wetlands in India are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life.
They occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the land, or where the land is covered by water. Once treated as transitional habitats or seral stages in succession from open water to land, the wetlands are now considered to be distinct ecosystems with specific ecological characteristics, functions and values.
Wetlands in India is very rich in wetland habitats exhibiting different ecological diversities, climatic conditions and changing topography.
A great number of these wetland habitats have been affected by various human impacts but realising the crucial role of the wetlands in ground water recharge, ground water discharge, flood storage and desynchronization, shoreline anchoring and dissipation of erosive forces, sediment traping, nutrient retention and removal, food chain support, habitat for fisheries, habitat for wild life, active recreation, passive recreation and heritage value.
Wetlands in India On the basis of topographical variation, Indian Wetlands are of four major types-
1) Himalayan Wetlands
2) Wetlands in the Gangetic plain
3) Wetlands in the desert
4) Coastal Wetlands.
Along the 7,500 km coast line of India, there is a great diversity of wetland habitat with lagoons, estuaries, mangrove swamps and coral reefs.
Among the coastal wetlands, coastal lagoons are the shallow coastal water bodies separated from the ocean by a barrier connected at least intermittently to the ocean by one or more restricted inlets and usually oriented parallel to shore
Coastal lagoons are usually found on low-lying coasts and are normally aligned with their largest diameter parallel to the seashore. A number of lagoons are distributed all along the East and the West Coasts of India. There are 17 noteworthy lagoons in Indian coast with 8 on the east and 9 on the west.
The 8 important coastal lagoons in the east are:
1) Chilka Lagoon
2) Pulicat lagoon
3) Pennar lagoon
4) Bendi lagoon
5) Nizampatnam lagoon
6) Muttukadu Lagoon
7) Muthupet lagoon and
8) Gulf of Mannar Lagoon.
The 9 important coastal lagoons in the West are:
1) Vembanand lagoon
2) Ashtamudi Lagoon
3) Paravur lagoon
4) Ettikulum Lagoon
5) Veli lagoon
6) Murkumpuzha lagoon
7) Talapady lagoon
8) Lagoons of Bombay coast and
9) Lakshadweep Lagoons (Kavaratti and Minicoy Lagoon).
Out of several wetlands in India, Chilka lake in the state of Orissa was designated as Ramsar site in 1991 as an internationally important of waterfowl habitat.
Six Ramsar sites
Chilka Lake (Orissa),
Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Rajasthan),
Wular Lake (Kashmir),
Harik Lake (Punjab),
Loktak Lake (Manipur)
Sambar Lake (Rajasthan)
Chilka Lake is the largest one and unique of its kind for its magnificent biological diversity, ecological complexity and sustainability.
This vast water body spreading over an area of 1100 sq. km harbours innumerable number of both floral and faunal components. It is a haven for migratory birds, having 159 species/subspecies.
More than 800 species of animals are reported from this lake and its vicinity by Zoological Survey of India.
About 225 species of fish have been reported from this lake. On the banks of the lake there are 8 fairly large towns and 122 villages. About 70% of this population depend upon fishing as the only means of livelihood.
Wetlands in India
|S.No.||Name of State/UT||S. No.||Name of Wetlands|
|9.||Great Rann of Kachh|
|10.||Thol Bird Sanctuary|
|11.||Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary|
|12.||Little Rann of Kachh|
|7.||Jammu & Kashmir||23.||Wullar|
|25.||Tisgul Tso & Chisul Marshes|
|34.||Chushul & Hanley|
|38.||Gudavi Bird Sanctuary|
|40.||Hidkal & Ghataprabha|
|43.||K.G. Koppa wetland|
|51.||Wetland of Ken River|
|52.||National Chambal Sanct.|
|55.||Denwa Tawa wetland|
|56.||Kanha Tiger Reserve|
|57.||Pench Tiger Reserve|
|20.||Sikkim||80.||Khechuperi Holy Lake|
|82.||Tembao Wetland Complex|
|83.||Phendang Wetland Complex|
|21.||Tamil Nadu||86.||Point Calimer|
|100.||Saman Bird Sanctuary|
|102.||Patna Bird Sanctuary|
|103.||Chando wetland, Basti|
|105.||Taal Ganbhirvan & Taal Salona|
|106.||Aadi jal Jeev Jheel|
|24.||Uttaranchal||107.||Ban Ganga Jhilmil Tal|
|25.||West Bengal||109.||East Calcutta Wetland|