Ramsar site is a piece of land that is conserved as a part of International treaty, where wetland in any country has to be safeguarded to provide natural habitat for future sustainability. Ramsar is name of city in Iran, and the name is given to these sites because of the first treaty of Ramsar Convention was signed here in 1971.
Ramsar Sites in India
There are more than 2200 Ramsar Sites all over the world, where United Kingdom is the country with large number of sites. India is geographically balanced with the landscapes with shallow and hilly terrains. Different types of lands in India have their own significance, of which most of the wetlands in India are considered as Ramsar Sites. At present there exists 26 Ramsar Sites in India.
List of Ramsar Sites
Ashtamudi wetlands: These are located in Kollam District of Kerala, with natural backwaters. Ashtamudi has estuary and is famous for tastiest fish of Kerala, Karimeen.
Bhitarkanika Mangroves: They belong to Orissa, famous for salt water crocodiles. These sites is collection of conservative lands like Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhitarkanika National Park, Gahirmatha Beach and Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary.
Bhoj Wetland: Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal is famous for Bhoj Wetlands that are formed by two different lakes. Different kinds of birds can be observed here. The sarus crane (Grus antigone) famous for its size is seen in flocks of more than 100 in number.
Chandra Taal: It is located in Himachal Pradesh with small area, but located at high altitude. Popularly known as Chandertal Wetland and is beautiful to view during nights.
Chilika Lake: It is located on the banks of Bay of Bengal in the state of Orissa of India. This is reputed for its water lagoon, which is largest in India and second largest of the world. As the area of the site is large, the core area Nalabana Island is designated as Ramsar of Chilika Lake.
Deepor Beel: This site belongs to North Eastern region of India, of Assam state. Asian elephants, amphibians, snakes, turtles and many other fauna are found in these regions. Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary is located near to this site, that hints the existence of birds residing in the Ramsar region sites.
East Calcutta Wetlands: This site is located in West Bengal and got prominence all over the world with its multiple usage of Wetlands. These lands are used for fishing, growing vegetables, and solar power is used along with these sites providing livelihood for many.
Harike Wetland: Located in Punjab. Importance of the site is that they are leased for private firms depending on fisheries. Two lakes and thirteen islands include in this site.
Hokera Wetland: It is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that provide vegetation water birds, as this is caused by perennial waterflow becoming important source of food.
Kanjli Wetland: This is environmental tourism spot in Punjab and is spiritually associated with Guru Nanak Dev Ji as the stream is perennial. It was constructed to stack water for irrigation initially, later got importance as Ramsar Site.
Keoladeo National Park: Site in Rajasthan that accommodates different types of species which includes primates, cats and ungulates. There is field research station for all the environmental investigations.
Kolleru Lake: It is small piece of land with 901 square kilometers, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This place is famous as largest freshwater lake in India.
Loktak Lake: It is considered to be the largest freshwater lake in North-Eastern part of India, which is in the state of Manipur. This lake is famous as it allows Keibul Lamjao National park to float on it, which is the only national park in the world to float. Sendra Tourist hub is beautiful place to visit near Loktak Lake.
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary: Located in Gujrat near Thar Desert that provides largest freshwater naturally. Sarus Crane is one of the migratory birds in Central Asia Flyway which refuges at this sanctuary during summer season. Indian Wild Ass is most famous as it resides here providing lifeline in dry season.
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary: This site in Tamil Nadu state provides shelter for Greater Flamingos and Spoon Billed Sandpiper during winter season and is popular as dry evergreen forest.
Pong Dam Lake: This site is in the state of Himachal Pradesh, have identified more than 220 bird species of which 50 were of waterfowl. This reservoir is constructed on the Beas River. Fishery industry have raised rapidly to provide direct employment for more than 1500 fishermen as there exists 25 types of fish species.
Renuka Lake: Water flow from lower Himalayan regions towards Giri River, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, and is organized by Shimla Forest Department. Ungulates and more than 100 bird species have been identified of which 60 are residents are abundant in this site. This place is also observed by most of the pilgrims as it is associated with the mother of Parashuram, thus welcomes number of tourists.
Ropar Wetland: After early Indian Independence, in order to provide water for drinking and irrigation in Punjab, there was a manmade wetland lake with a barrage constructed to divert waters of Sutlej River. Later this site was listed as Ramsar site and now attracts tourists those who love nature, birdwatchers and swimmers.
Rudrasagar Lake: Based on the socio economic and biodiversity of this lake located in Tripura, Ministry of Environment and Forest have observed it as Ramsar Site. Thus it conserves the amount of wetlands, to gain international importance. Pollution affected this site during early times, as there was no proper awareness about the importance of wetlands. Many other polluting causes added problems to this site in degrading wetlands.
Sambhar Lake: Located in Rajasthan, is largest inland salt Lake of India. Flamingos and other birds that migrate from North America reside at Sambhar Lake is the reason behind its International importance as Ramsar Site.
Sasthamkotta Lake: This is small Ramsar site in Kollam district of Kerala, yet the largest freshwater lake of Kerala. Replenishing mechanism is destructing which results in depletion of this Lake.
Surinsar-Mansar Lakes: Surinsar and Mansar lakes are of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located at an altitude of 500m above the sea level. September is the best time to experience the beauty of Surinsar and Mansar lakes. Bird watching is also famous in this site, and Summer seems to be the best season.
Tsomoriri: A brackish freshwater lake in Jammu and Kashmir which is above 4595 m above the sea level is famous as, the only site that provides breeding for the black-necked cranes and bar-headed geese in India. The highest cultivated land in the world is at Korzok with barley fields. With the increase in tourists to this site, there is potential threat anticipated.
Upper Ganga River(Brijghat to Narora Stretch): In the State of Uttar Pradesh, there exists a shallow stretch of Ganges with deep pools and reservoirs, providing habitat for Dolphin, Crocodile, Gharial, otters, turtles, fish and birds. Cremations and Holy Baths by thousands of pilgrims for spiritual purification associated with the religious importance of this Ganga River, and thus creating disturbances in conserving this site.
Vembanad-Kol Wetland: This is the largest lake of Kerala which is most famous for their houseboats, attracts more number of tourists to Kerala, along with different varieties of fish foods and paddy fields. Lake covers across Ernakulam, Kottayam, and Alappuzha districts and is below the sea-level.
Wular Lake: It is also one of the largest freshwater lakes in India, located in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Rice cultivation, tree farming, wintering, staging, breeding birds and providing water for irrigation and domestic use are the significant characteristics of this site.
There are few more Ramsar sites expected to be added to the existing list as there are few proposals made, for example Thane Creek Wetland in Bombay. People are unaware of the significance of these Ramsar sites and indirectly degrade the quality of sites, as these sites play vital role in conserving different types of biodiversity.