Wetlands are areas where the water table is at or near the surface of the
land, or where the land is covered by shallow water. The Ramsar Convention
defines wetlands as:
"areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial,
permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish
or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does
not exceed six metres".
They include the rivers, lakes, coastal lagoons, mangroves, peatlands,
fens, bogs and coral reefs, in addition to man-made wetlands that includes
fish and shrimp ponds, ponds, irrigated agricultural land, salt pans,
reservoirs, canals, sewage farms, etc. Wetlands are amongst the most productive ecosystems, that are valuable as sources, sinks, and transformers of a multitude of chemical, biological, and genetic materials. They support high concentrations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrate species.
STRESS ON WETLANDS
The interaction of man with wetlands initiated a process of evolution and
development of many civilizations. Societies have enjoyed an ancient association
with wetlands and have learned to obtain multiple benefits- natural resources,
amenities and environmental services from them.
But in the recent past, the wetland values are often overlooked resulting
from the growing population pressures and unplanned development threatening
their very existence. In order to stem this tide of destruction, especially
of wetlands located in urban areas suitable guidelines to assess the
ecological integrity and effective monitoring programs are required which
includes collecting sufficient information on the various functions,
components and attributes of wetlands, reduce the ongoing ecological
In view of this there is a need to periodically monitor these systems.
Ecological restoration and ecosystem management is an essential component
of any habitat conservation. The management of wetlands has become
important because these ecosystems are still being reclaimed or
encroached for agricultural activities, aquaculture, for sewage disposal,
The present work attempts to identify some of the major threats,
wetland face today, develop suitable site specific management plan
and make suitable suggestions to draw the attention of to wetland
biologists, conservationists, planners and policy makers.