Wetland Ecology and Avian Diversity

The climate and geographical diversity of India, gives it a rich diversity of birds. With interesting behavioral features huge flocks of local and migratory birds are the principal attractions in the lakes of this beautiful country. Birds play a very important role in maintaining ecological balance. Our country boasts of more than 1250 species of birds. This includes nearly 300 varieties of birds that migrate from Tibet, China, Europe and Siberia and fly over the Himalayas to come here during the winters. They may travel as long as 5000 km and as high as 8500 meters to achieve this migration. The Greylag goose, Pintail, Commonteal, Cotton teal, Red crested Pochard, Brahmini duck, Gadwell, Shoveller, Coot and Mallard are some prominent migratory birds along with a variety of resident and locally migratory birds found in the plains of northern India.

Habitat destruction, excessive hunting and poaching have had a very serious impact on the population of these birds. Increased emphasis on agriculture and associated pesticide pollution and the introduction of exotic weeds in wetlands have also caused deleterious affects on the population of these birds. Ever since man assumed a dominant role on this planet and began exploiting natural resources, the rate of extinction of species increased beyond contemplation. While many species became extinct, others are highly endangered and if immediate steps for conservation are not taken these will be lost to mankind.

Wet lands are complex ecosystems that share the characteristics of both wet and dry environment. They exhibit enormous diversity and are the most productive life support systems with great ecological importance to mankind. They provide suitable habitats for fish, winter resorts for a variety of birds and are a rich source of food, fodder and other important biological products. Ever since man assumed a dominant role in this planet and began exploiting natural resources, the rate of extinction of species increased beyond contemplation. While many species became extinct, others are highly endangered and if immediate steps for conservation are not taken these will be lost to mankind.

Filed in: Biodiversity & Nature Conservation

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