Wetlands in India: Gujarat

Wetlands constitute the vital link in the hydrological cycle. They provide a multitude of services like purification and regulation of flows, fisheries, habitat provision to plants, animals and micro-organisms; providing opportunities for recreation and tourism; and so forth (Silvis, 2000). Their intrinsic hydrological functions act as buffer against such extremes as droughts and flooding.

In monsoon, wetlands absorb and restore water and therefore, reduce the risk of flood. In winter and summer, they gradually release water and thus ensure its availability to surrounding and downstream areas. Inland wetlands are important water resources replenishing groundwater and sub-soil aquifers. Coastal wetlands, including mangroves and coral reefs, often function as natural barriers against salt-water intrusion, protecting coastal land and inland water habitats.

Wetlands are source of life. Much of the world’s biodiversity depends upon, or is linked to them. This includes many endangered and/or migratory species. Richness of waterfowl, including that of migratory ones in Gujarat is attributed to varieties of wetland habitats. Wetlands are thus part of global network of water-dependent, cross boundary resources, whose constituents can not be managed in isolation. Global wetland area was estimated at about 7.5 to 7.8 million sq. km., however, this figure excludes many wetland types such as salt marshes, coastal flats, sea grass, meadows and reservoirs. India harbours about 5 % of global wetlands.

Jheels (lakes), Talav (ponds), dams, seasonal waterbodies, paddy fields, streams, marsh lands, coastline, mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries and large stretches of mudflats etc. contribute significantly to make this land beautiful. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Gujarat is “a land of Wetlands” in India. A study conducted by Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad in 1998 estimated wetland area in the country at about 75819 sq. km. Of this, Gujarat’s contribution is about 27175 sq. km (36%).

In monsoon, wetlands absorb and restore water and therefore, reduce the risk of flood. In winter and summer, they gradually release water and thus ensure its availability to surrounding and downstream areas. Inland wetlands are important water resources replenishing groundwater and sub-soil aquifers. Coastal wetlands, including mangroves and coral reefs, often function as natural barriers against salt-water intrusion, protecting coastal land and inland water habitats.
Wetlands are source of life. Much of the world’s biodiversity depends upon, or is linked to them. This includes many endangered and/or migratory species. Richness of waterfowl, including that of migratory ones in Gujarat is attributed to varieties of wetland habitats. Wetlands are thus part of global network of water-dependent, cross boundary resources, whose constituents can not be managed in isolation. Global wetland area was estimated at about 7.5 to 7.8 million sq. km., however, this figure excludes many wetland types such as salt marshes, coastal flats, sea grass, meadows and reservoirs. India harbours about 5 % of global wetlands.
Jheels (lakes), Talav (ponds), dams, seasonal waterbodies, paddy fields, streams, marsh lands, coastline, mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries and large stretches of mudflats etc. contribute significantly to make this land beautiful. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Gujarat is “a land of Wetlands” in India. A report by Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad in 2011 estimated wetland area in the country at about 152606 sq. km. Of this, Gujarat’s contribution is about 35000 sq. km (23%).

Source: http://www.gujaratforest.org/wildlife-wetlands-intro.htm

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