Aravalli Biodiversity Park-India’s first OECM site

On World Wetlands Day, that is, on February 2, the Aravalli Biodiversity Park was announced as the first Other Effective Area – based Conservation Measures site, OECM site.

What is OECM?

The OECM tag is provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. According to IUCN, the OECM sites are not protected but are rich in biodiversity. The Aravalli hills are the first OECM site of the country. The proposal to make Aravallis as the OECM was made by the National Biodiversity Authority

About the Aravalli Biodiversity Park

The park is spread over 390 acres. It has a semi – arid vegetation. It has more than 43,000 shrubs, 101,000 trees and 300 endemic plant species. Earlier, the park was a mining site. It was transformed into a city forest through immense efforts of environmentalists, scientists, ecologists along with the local population. Aravallis are considered as the green lungs of Delhi. They support leopards, fox, sambhar and jackals. The Aravallis provide 7.07% of oxygen to Delhi.

Need for the tag

25% of the Aravallis was lost due to illegal mining. According to CAG, there were more than 4,0000 illegal mining cases. Since 1960s, 31 hills vanished from the hills.

Significance of Aravallis

The Aravallis act as a barrier between the desert in the west and the fertile land in the east. The Aravallis stops the monsoon clouds and brings rains to Nainital and Shimla. The hill function as the groundwater recharge for the region.

OECM Definition

The OECM areas were defined at the Convention on Biological Diversity that was held in 2018. The definition of OECM goes as follows:

Simple lay man terms

“OECM is not a protected area. It is governed to achieve positive outcomes. The outcomes are conservation of biodiversity, giving importance to cultural, socio – economic and spiritual values.”

Technical Definition

The definition mainly covers three main areas. They are ancillary conservation, secondary conservation and primary conservation. Ancillary conservation is providing in – situ conservation. This includes freshwater protection zones, protected war graves. The secondary conservation is active conversation. For instance, creating conservation corridors is secondary conservation. Primary conservation is those areas that the governing authorities are not willing to declare as protected areas. The governing authorities shall be indigenous people, religious group or private landowners.

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