IMPLICATIONS OF WETLAND
Types of wetlands
Causes of degradation
Implications of Wetland Degradation
Case study of Deepar Beel
What are WETLANDS ?
“Wetlands are area of marsh, fen, peat land
or water, whether natural or artificial,
permanent or temporary, with water that is
static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt,
including areas of marine water, the depth
of which at low tide does not exceed six
Key Attributes (Helps in identification)
Hydrology which is a degree of flooding
of soil saturation
Wetland vegetation (hydrophytes)
Ramsar Convention --- path of recognizing
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental
treaty which deals with conservation aspects of inland
waters and the near-shore coastal areas.
Signed on Feb 2, 1971, in Iranian city of RAMSAR this
provides a framework for national action and
international cooperation for the conservation and wise
use of wetlands and their resources.
There are at present 159 contracting Parties to the
Convention, with 1634 wetland sites, totaling 145.73
million hectares, designated for inclusion in the
Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The Convention has 12 Articles which deal with the
various aspects of wetlands, including their definition,
criteria for designation of wetlands, wise use of
wetlands, establishing nature reserves, research,
monitoring, management of wetland species,
international cooperation and transboundary wetland
India is a signatory to Ramsar Convention and plays an
important role in conservation and wise use of
The Mission of the Ramsar Convention
‘The conservation and wise use of wetlands by
national action and international cooperation as
a means to achieving sustainable development
throughout the world.’
Source : Conservation of Wetlands in India: A Profile
Glaciatic Wetlands (e.g., Tsomoriri in
Jammu and Kashmir, Chandertal in
Tectonic Wetlands (Bhimtal in Uttaranchal)
Oxbow Wetlands (Wullur lake, Kashmir)
Lagoons (Chilka lake, Orissa)
Crater Wetlands (Lonar lake, Maharastra)
Salt water Wetlands (Sambhar, Rajastan)
Urban Wetlands (Dal lake, Kasmir)
Creeks (Thane , Maharastra)
Extent of Degradation of Wetlands
More than ½ of the worlds remaining wetlands
have been destroyed in the 20th century,
especially in developing countries by the
demands of industrialization.
1/3rd of Indian wetlands has already been wiped
out or has been severely degraded.
70 – 80 percent of individual fresh water marshes
and lakes in the Gangetic flood plains have been
lost in the last five decades.
(Sustainable Wetlands, Environmental Governance-2, 1999).
80 to 98% of wetlands immediately within or
adjacent to many of Canada's urban centers have
been lost (Govt. of Cannada, 1991)
Rate of loss is 2-3% per year
Indian mangrove areas have been halved almost
from 700,000 hectares in 1987 to 453,000 hectares
in 1995 (Sustainable Wetlands, Environmental
Threats to wetlands
Uncontrolled weed infestation
Anthropogenic invasion or Encroachment on
wetland areas for various purposes leading to
unting & Associated
ishing & Associated
Drainage for agriculture
Study on the effects of agricultural run-off in Frankline Bog,
Vermont, USA has revealed that forested and agricultural
runoff from the nearby watershed created differential
vegetation patterns in the wetland, including weedy species
introductions. The study also reported the nutrient induced
excessive vegetative growth in the study site.( Gustafson &
Soil salinization is also reported to be a serious cause of
wetland degradation in the Yellow River Delta region of
china. (Jian-feng & Qi-xiang, 2005)
Climate change is predicted to threaten the wetland
ecosystems by its effect on wetland biodiversity
(Temperature), shrinkage of wetland area due to reduced
water availability and geographical distribution of
wetlands. (Tiwana et al. 2008)
Of the estimated 58.2 million hectares of wetlands in
India, 40.9 million hectares are under rice cultivation
Most of the coastal mangroves in Sunderbans & Andaman
in India are facing threat arising from economic demand
rasad et al. 2002)
L of marine and coastal wetlands in Australia has been
linked with human interference in E
stuaries, bays and
Gulfs for various activities . (Zann, 1995)
In US, that more than 53% of naturally occurring
wetlands (more than 117 million acres or 47.4 million
hectares; 1 acre = 0.405 hectare) have been converted
into urban and agricultural uses (B
endor & B
Zhaou et al , Environ Model Assess (2009) 14:101–111
Maintenance of water tables
Water storage and flood control
Shoreline protection and stabilization
Sediment and nutrient retention
Water purification - Kidneys of Nature
Habitats for biodiversity
Recreation and tourism
Reduction in terrestrial carbon sequestration
Reduction in economic products
Reduction of Ground Water Recharge Potential
Reduced Water supply
Erosion of shoreline
Interrupted nutrient cycling
Loss of Water Quality
Study on Hadejia–Jama’are and Hadejia–Nguru wetlands
of Nigeria has revealed that loss of the wetland area has
resulted in drying up of many wells that are used by the
inhabitants.(Uluocha & Okeke, 2004)
Location : (lat. 26°03′26″–26°09′26″N and long.
90°36′39″–90°41′25″E) , 10 km southwest of
Guwahati town, Kamrup District .
The Beel has a perennial water-holding area of
about 10.1 km2, which extends up to 40.1 km2
during floods. (Bera et al., 2008)
Notified a Wildlife Sanctuary (proposed) under the
Wildlife Protection Act of India, 1972
Declared a Ramsar Site in August 2002
Recognized as a Important Bird Area site by
Justification for declaring a Ramsar Site:
Deepor Beel and is a representative wetland type found
within the biogeographic province, 'Burma Monsoon
Supports threatened species of birds like Spot billed
pelican, Lesser adjutant stork, Greater adjutant stork,
Black necked stork, and Large whistling teal.
The lake is one of the staging grounds on the migratory
flyways for several species.
Source : Bera et al. 2008, ENVIS Newsletter, 2007, Sharma & Sharma, 2008 and
Greater adjurdent stork
Spot billed pelican
Great blue heron
Asian elephants in B
arge whistling teal
lack necked stork
A large no. of wetland fruits and vegetables and
medicinal plants are identified in the wetland.
Source of water for the wild animals from the
adjuscent Rani – Garbhanga Reserved Forest
including the Asiatic Elephants.
The only major storm water storage basin for the
city of Guwahati.
Resident rural community of nearby area (14
Village/1200 families) mostly dependant on the
natural wetland resources for their livilihood.
Degradation of Deepor B
Present reported area is 9.27 sq. km. but the
actual water body is only 4.1 sq. km.
Heavily infested with water hyacinth and other
aquatic weeds, indicating high eutrophication.
Deterioration of water quality – pH - 4.7- 6.9,
DO -1.6 mg/l to 5.2 mg/l
Heavy metal content reported to be high.
(Report, Planning Comission, India, 2008)
Demarcation of the boundary
Construction of embankment
Control of industrial activity
Control of commercial exploitation of aquatic
Water quality restoration
Increasing water retention capacity
Complete stoppage of garbage dumping
Implementing sustainable wetland management
Wetlands are very important ecosystems from the point of
global and local environmental conservation.
Human encroachment and developmental activities are
accelerating the degradation process of wetlands.
Conservation of wetlands should be given a prime
importance in all the environmental conservation policies.
Greater participation of local people, use of
indigenous knowledge in the management
strategies and application of scientific
techniques are needed.
Most importantly, we must be sincere enough
to increase awareness among public regarding
the importance of wetlands.