What is the significance of Sunderban Wetlands of India?
The Sunderban Wetlands has been accorded the status of ï¿½Wetland of International Importanceï¿½ as per the Ramsar Convention. There are many hundreds of islands, rivers, tributaries, along with the delta of Ganga and Brahmaputra. It is rich in biodiversity and makes 60 per cent of the total forest cover of the country. Ramsar Convention which came into force in 1975, is the one and only treaty which has its focus only on one ecosystem. Wetlands were traditionally thought to be complete wastelands but were later found to be vital for biodiversity as they act as a natural shock absorber. There are nine criteria which are considered for a site to qualify for the status of Wetland of International Importance. Sunderbans met four of the above, namely rare species presence, biodiversity, home to Royal Bengal Tiger, and representative fish and fish spawning ground. In addition, it is also home to two of the four species of horseshoe crabs of the world. Environmentalists say that status will be quite helpful for highlighting the conservation issues of the Sunderbans even at an international stage. This may lead to better conservation strategy for the rare species of the area.