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Status Of Ecological Health Of Wetlands In Punjab, India

Title:Status Of Ecological Health Of Wetlands In Punjab, India
Author:Satnam Singh Ladhar
Publication:Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management / Taylor & Francis
Enumeration:Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 457 - 465 , / December 01, 2002
Abstract:To identify important wetlands from ecological, socio-economic, hydro-biological, religious and recreational points of view, a study was undertaken in the state of Punjab with the aim of designing suitable conservation strategies and developing site-specific management plans for their timely implementation. The survey shows that in Punjab, all the natural and man-made wetlands cover an area of about 23000 ha. While most of the natural wetlands are under severe stress from reclamation for agriculture, the man-made wetlands which are primarily being maintained for the purpose of meeting water requirements of Punjab and other adjoining states are under threat of general ecological degradation. Though conservation and protection of wetlands in the state have attracted the attention of the government, the general attitude of the public towards these ecosystems is negative with efforts directed toward making alternate uses of the wetlands in the short-term. As a consequence, a large number of natural wetlands have vanished and the trend is continuing. Some of the very prominent wetlands that have totally lost their ecological character due to reclamation include Bhupinder Sagar, Chhangali Chhamb, and Rahon de Chhamb. Major reasons for their loss include drainage of low lands, reduced flow of water into natural wetlands, siltation and encroachments. Due to the continuous loss of natural wetlands in the state not only the local hydrological regime is changing rapidly but also the biological diversity has come under threatening pressure. This study has found that immediate conservation measures have to be implemented in some important wetlands in the state. The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology has identified five wetlands, Keshopur-Miani Jheel, Chhawarian Bhangar Chhamb, Jastarwal Jheel, Mand Bharthala and Dholbaha Reservoir, to be designated as wetlands of state significance. These are in addition to Harike, Kanjli and Ropar wetlands that have been included i

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