Asan Conservation Reserve becomes Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar site
Asan Conservation Reserve has become Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar site, making it a ‘Wetland of International Importance’, announced the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Reserve is located on the banks of Yamuna river near Dehradun district in Garhwal region of the Himalayan state.
“Ramsar declares Asan Conservation Reserve as a site of international importance. With this, the number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 38, the highest in South Asia and Uttarakhand gets its first Ramsar site,” tweeted the environment ministry.
Manju Pandey, joint secretary in the environment ministry, also confirmed the development and said that Asan Conservation Reserve has become Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar site.
“Asan Conservation Reserve cleared five out of the nine criteria needed to be declared as a Ramsar site and get identified as a Wetland of International Importance,” said Pandey.
It cleared the category on species and ecological communities, one on water-birds and another on fish.
Deep Chandra Arya, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Chakrata forest division, which is home to Asan Conservation Reserve, said, “The certificate was given on July 21, 2020 by the Secretary General, Convention on Wetlands but it was officially announced by the union environment ministry on Thursday as certain queries had been pending and were being fulfilled.”
“Asan is home to many rare and endangered species like the Ruddy Shelduck, Red Crested Pochard, among others. Many endangered birds are found here and some even migrate to the Reserve, making it an ecologically important site,” added Arya.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. The name of the Convention is usually written “Convention on Wetlands’’. The Convention on Wetlands came into force for India on February 1, 1982. Those wetlands which are of international importance are declared as Ramsar sites.
Spread across 4.44 sq km area in Dehradun district on the banks of Yamuna river, Asan receives about 40 migratory species, including Rudy Shelduck, Common coot, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Indian cormorant, Baer’s pochard, Northern pintail, Bar-headed goose.
The criteria cleared by Asan Conservation Reserve to get Ramsar site tag include that it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species, it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity, it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles and it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.