To ensure better conservation of wetland, India now gets its first Centre for wetland conservation and management. This announcement was made by the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo recently on the occasion of World Wetland day. This information was shared in a press release by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

He announced that this centre for wetland conservation and management will be part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai which is an institution under the Ministry.

What is Wetland?

Wetlands are those areas where water covers the soil for a long time in the year. This water saturation is the defining factor that how the soil will develop and what kind of vegetation of animal species will sustain in that. Generally, wetlands support both aquatic and terrestrial species. Due to the presence of water for a longer period of time, it supports the growth of specially adapted plants. There are around 42 wetlands in India that have international importance. It has recognised as the Ramsar Sites in India.

During the launch of this initiative, the minister also highlighted the importance of wetlands and their relevance in the ecosystem. In a press release shared by the Ministry, he mentioned that this dedicated centre will address the needs of research that are specific to the conservation of wetlands. It will also help in addressing the knowledge gaps that will help in better management and conservation.

The press release further states that India has nearly 4.6% of its land as wetlands. It covers almost an area of 15.26 million hectares and there are 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1.08 million hectares. The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, celebrated annually as World Wetlands Day.

The Centre will help in building partnership and networks with relevant national and international agencies. WCM would serve as a knowledge hub and enable exchange between State/ UT Wetland Authorities, wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. The Centre would also help the national and State/ UT Governments in the designing and implementatation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research for its conservation.

The Minister also released publications relating to the Faunal Diversity of all the Ramsar sites in the country and a brochure on the Designation of Ramsar sites.