Wetlands in India

Wetlands in India are distributed in different geographical regions, ranging from the Himalaya to the Deccan plateau. The variability in climatic conditions and topography is responsible for significant diversity. Based on their origin, vegetation, nutrient status and thermal characteristics, they are classified into following different types:

  1. Glaciatic Wetlands (e.g., Tsomoriri in Jammu and Kashmir, Chandertal in Himachal Pradesh)
  2. Tectonic Wetlands (e.g., Nilnag in Jammu and Kashmir, Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, and Nainital and Bhimtal in Uttaranchal)
  3. Oxbow Wetlands (e.g., Dal Lake, Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir and Loktak Lake in Manipur and some of the wetlands in the river plains of Brahmaputra and Indo- Gangetic region. Deepor Beel in Assam, Kabar in Bihar, Surahtal in Uttar Pradesh)
  4. Lagoons (e.g., Chilika in Orissa)
  5. Crater Wetlands (Lonar lake in Maharashtra)
  6. Salt Water Wetlands (e.g., Pangong Tso in Jammu and Kashmir and Sambhar in Rajasthan)
  7. Urban Wetlands (e.g., Dal Lake in Jammu and Kashmir, Nainital in Uttaranchal and Bhoj in Madhya Pradesh)
  8. Ponds/Tanks, Man-made Wetlands (e.g., Harike in Punjab and Pong Dam in Himachal Pradesh)
  9. Reservoirs (e.g., Idukki, Hirakud dam, Bhakra-Nangal dam)
  10. Mangroves (e.g., Bhitarkanika in Orissa)
  11. Coral reefs (e.g., Lakshadweep)
  12. Others – Creeks (Thane Creek in Maharashtra), seagrasses, estuaries, thermal springs are some other types of wetlands in the country.
  • There are in all 104 identified wetlands under the National Wetland Conservation & Management Programme (NWCMP). India has 25 sites under Ramsar Convention as follows:


Fluidη (poise)
Castor oil9.86
Olive oil0.84
Air0.019 X 10-3

Is there any specific Legal Framework in India regarding Wetlands?

No, As of now there is no specific legal framework for wetland conservation, management and their wise use. Draft regulatory framework for conservation and management of wetlands is being finalized to be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. At present conservation and wise use of wetlands is being ensured through various legal instruments, related to environment and forests.