Sunday, July 17, 2016

RAMSAR Sites Of Nepal: Wetlands Of Vital Importance

Ramsar sites are wetlands that are identified as having international importance. The Convention on Wetlands also called Ramsar Convention (after the city of the same name in Iran that hosted the first convention in 1971), is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The Ramsar Sites Information Service provides access to the database of all designated Ramsar Sites in the world. To date, Nepal has 10 Ramsar Sites that are designated as Wetlands of International Importance with one more proposed site at Khaptad Lake.

1.Gokyo and Associated Lakes

Gokyo and its associated lakes were designated as a Ramsar site in 2007 and is located in the Solukhumbu District. The Gokyo site spans an area of 77.7 square kilometers. The site houses glacial lakes of substantial sizes and takes its place as part of one of the 200 eastern Himalayan ecoregions.

2.Mai Pokhari

The Mai Pokhari wetland of Nepal was designated as a Ramsar site in 2008. It is located in east Nepal in the Ilam district covering an area of about 0.9 square kilometers. The wetland originates from an oligotrophic tectonic pond and is sustained by rainwater and natural springs. The climate is humid and allows for a wide-ranging biodiversity. About 85 km north of the wetland stands the gigantic and majestic Mount Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest peak in the world.

3.Phoksundu Lake

Spanning 4.94 square kilometers, Phoksundu Lake, designated as a Ramsar site in 2007, is the deepest glacial lake and the second largest in Nepal. The wetland is the center of endemism in the eastern Himalayan region and source of fresh water for rivers such as the Thuli Bheri River.

4.Gosaikunda and Associated Lakes

Gosaikunda and Associated Lakes became one of the Ramsar wetlands in September 2007. With a total area of 1.03 hectare, the site is a unique and representative wetland type in the high central Himalayan Paleoartic region comprising of freshwater lakes of significant sizes.

5.Ghodaghodi Lake Area

Designated as a Ramsar wetland site in August 2003, Ghodaghodi spreads across and area of 2.56 square kilometers. It is a shallow but large lake with linked marshes and meadows surrounded by tropical deciduous forest on the lower slopes of the Siwalik hill range. About 0.85 square kilometers of cultivated land also lies on the site.

6.Beeshazar and Associated Lakes

Beeshazar and adjoining areas are forested wetlands having a series of associated lakes, swamps, meadows, and marshes. In August 2003, the wetland was declared as a Ramsar site, and on the last count spanned an area of 3.2 square kilometers. The Tikauli forest which is an important wildlife corridor is also part of the site.

7.Rara Lake

Located in the mid-western Mugu district, Rara Lake spans an area of 1.58 square kilometers. The lake is a consequence of capture of a river in a distinct geographical location of high central Himalaya. It provides water to the Karnali river which is one of the four major rivers of Nepal. The designation date for this site is September 2007.

8.Koshi Tappu

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, the oldest Ramsar site, was designated in December 1987 and extends over a large area of 17.5 square kilometers. It is a natural river system formed by the Koshi River and lies close to the Indo-Nepalese border. Land use in surrounding areas includes rice cultivation and subsistence fishing.

9.Lake Cluster of Pokhara Valley

Lake Cluster is the latest addition to the designated Ramsar sites inducted in February 2016. The Lake Cluster is spread over 26.1 square kilometers of the Pokhara Valley in the mid-hill region of Nepal. The area receives an ample amount of annual rainfall (one of the highest in the country). Each lake supports significant biodiversity and offers key ecosystem features.

10.Jagadishpur Reservoir

The Jagadishpur Reservoir is located over the Jakhira Lake and spreads over a comparatively small area of only 0.225 square kilometers. It was constructed for irrigation and was designated as a Ramsar site in August 2003 as it featured a collection of rare, endangered and monogeneric plant species which hold importance for conservation of genetic diversity. 

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