Previous Session

Session12: Integrated Management of Water Quality 
and Quantity with Ecosystem Approach 

Next Session

 Chairman: Dr. Tiina Noges

Rapporteur: Ahalya N

Sustainable Management of Biotic Resources in the Wetlands of North Bihar, India  

Vidyanath Jha


 North Bihar criss-crossed by a large number of shifting rivers is known for its chaurs (land depressions), mauns (ox-bow lakes) and other wetlands of various hues. These water bodies serve the lifeline of the region by maintaining the ground water table and meeting the requirements of drinking and irrigation. Besides all these wetlands constitute the reservoirs of fisheries and a diverse group of aquaphytes and help meet the energy and protein demands of the suffering humanity in far-off flood ridden localities. 

North Bihar wetlands are ideal sites for cultivating gorgon nut, water chestnut and fodder plants. Euryale ferox Salisb (Makhana) is the foremost aquatic macrophyte grown as cash crop in the non-calcareous Kosi-Kamala belt. The plant is known for its starch and protein qualities. It forms a basis of livelihood to thousands of fishing families. Fish farmers of the banpar sub-caste are well-versed in harvesting Makhana seeds from the pond bottom. Process being an arduous one, the fishermen from this area are hired for the purpose in Assam Beels, which also grow this crop in the semi-wild state. Makhana growing wetlands in North Bihar also yield a sizeable portion of air breathing fishes. Of late there has been an increasing awareness for harnessing their productivity at an optimum level under concurrent and rotational methods of integrated aquaculture with carp fishes as well. Recent years have also witnessed Makhana being grown under rotational cropping with arable lands like wheat and potato. This practice is getting popular in the flood ravaged Saharsa district which has a high water table and bamboo borings have made it possible to procure irrigation water at a relatively low cost. 

Integrating aquaculture along with these aquaphytes could help augment the wetland productivity to its optimum. The paper takes into account certain avenues suggesting better utilisation of North Bihar wetlands.

Address: Department of Botany C.M.Science College, Darbhanga 846004.
Phone: 06272-30918Fax: 06272-22880