Amity School of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development organises Three-day Workshop on “Conservation and Participatory Management of Wetlands in India”

Three-day Workshop on “Conservation and Participatory Management of Wetlands in India” was organised by Amity School of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, Amity University Uttar Pradesh in association with Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi from June 24-26, 2009 at Amity University Campus, Sector-125 Noida. Mr. A.K. Goyal, IFS, Joint Secretary, MoEF, New Delhi, Dr. J.C. Kala, Honorary Director General, AIGWES, Maj. Gen. K.J. Singh, Vice Chancellor, AUUP, Noida inaugurated the workshop.

Briefing the participants regarding the theme and aim of conducting the workshop Prof. B.K.P. Sinha Director, ASNR&SD said that many of our seemingly complex problems have their origin in our resource illiteracy or vested interest in management of land resources. Nothing can be more apt example than mismanagement of our wetland. Wetlands are multifunctional. In Indian landscape wetlands have been playing a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance in their surrounding ecosystem. Wetland has been providing vital habitat to many types of plants and animals useful to mankind. Wetlands in effect can be aptly termed as “kidney of landscapes”.

India has totally 67,429 wetlands, covering an area of about 4.1 million hectares [Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), 1990]. Out of these, 2,175 are natural and 65,254, man made. Wetlands in India (excluding rivers), account for 18.4% of the country’s geographic area, of which 70 per cent is under paddy cultivation.

But over the past years, however wetlands have become imperiled by anthropogenic activities like unplanned urban and agricultural development, industrial sites, road construction, impoundment, resource extraction, and dredge disposal causing substantial long-term economic and ecological loss. Wildlife institute of India’s survey reveals that 70-80 per cent of individual freshwater marshes and lakes in the Gangatic flood plains have been lost in the last five decades.

Should Indian soceity be concerned about the loss of wetland? Wetland represent important form of natural capital and there is an urgent need for striking a proper balance between wetland conservation, sustainable utilization and wetland conversion.

Four technical sessions were held during the workshop. First technical session was chaired by Dr. (Mrs.) Neelima Jerath, Executive Director, PSCS&T, Chandigarh where Dr. Siddharth Kaul, Director (Wetlands), Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi presented his views on Laws and Strategies on Wetland Management. Dr. S.A. Hussain, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun discussed Causes of Wetlands Destruction in India and Their impact. Mr. A.K. Srivastava, IFS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Backward Classes, New Delhi shared his views on Management of Ramsar Sites with respect to High Altitude Wetlands in Jammu and Kashmir State.

In second technical session Mr. B.K. Pattnaik, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Lucknow prsented case study on Management of Wetland in Uttar Pradesh. Mr. R.N. Mehrotra, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Jaipur discussed Restoration Efforts in Rajasthan. Mr. S. Chandola, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Dehradun presented case study on Management of Wetland in Uttarakhand with special reference to Asan and Jhilmil Tal Conservation Reserve. Mr. Anoop K.R., Bharatpur, Rajasthan discussed Conservation and Management of Bhoj/Koeladeo, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Wetlands. Prof. J.K. Garg, Dean, GSS Indraprastha University, New Delhi discussed about Geomatics and Wetlands. Dr. Ruchi Badola, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun presented her views on Economic Evaluation of Wetland Management.

On second day participants went for Case study visit of Badkhal/Surajkund in Haryana.
On concluding day during third technical session under the chairmanship of Mr. B.K. Pattnaik, IFS, PCCF (Wildlife), Lucknow, Ms. Archana Chatterjee, WWF India, New Delhi discussed on Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands Management – Case Studies from the Field. Ms. Ritu Singh, Research Consultant, INTACH, New Delhi briefed on Hydrological Aspect of Management of Wetlands in India with Few Case Studies. Technical session 4 was held under the chairmanship of Mr. R.N. Mehrotra, IFS, PCCF (Wildlife), Jaipur. Mr. R.B. Lal, IFS, Ex-Inspector General (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi discussed Integrated Wetlands and River Basin Management – Loktak Lake. Mr. C.K. Varshney, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi expressed his thoughts on Significance and Plight of Wetlands. Dr. Bharti Chhibber, Lecturer, Miranda House, University of Delhi, New Delhi presented her views on Social Regulations and Their Efficacy in Participatory Management of Wetlands. The technical session was followed by panel discussion on Wetland Management where Dr. J.C. Kala, Dr. Siddharth Kaul, Mr. J.P.L. Srivastava, Dr. S.A. Hussain, Mr. Abhijit Ghose, Mr. R.N. Mehrotra, Mr. K.P. Sasidharan, Prof. B.K.P. Sinha participated.

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