Tamil Nadu Leads Conservation Efforts: Two New Ramsar Sites Elevate State’s Status
Tamil Nadu, already at the forefront of environmental conservation, achieved a significant milestone as two more places were declared Ramsar sites, bringing the total count to 16. With the inclusion of the Longwood Shola Reserve Forest in The Nilgiris and the Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary in Ariyalur, the state now boasts the highest number of Ramsar sites in the country.
The Longwood Shola Reserve Forest, covering 116.07 hectares, is a haven for biodiversity, recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. With over 700 species of flora and fauna, including 14 endemic bird species of the Western Ghats, it holds a special place in ecological diversity. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) acknowledges its threatened status. Beyond its ecological significance, Longwood Shola plays a crucial role in the fragile Nilgiris ecosystem, serving as a primary water source for Kotagiri and supplying water to 18 downstream villages.
On the other hand, the Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, spanning 453.7 hectares, stands as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in Tamil Nadu. Home to over 500 species of flora and fauna, it is strategically located in the Central Asian Flyway, serving as a vital breeding and foraging ground for waterbirds.
The recognition of these sites as Ramsar sites on January 31 underscores the commitment of the State government to environmental preservation. Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary for Environment, Climate Change, and Forests, highlighted that the department is collaborating with the Wildlife Institute of India to develop integrated management plans for Ramsar sites. This proactive approach ensures a comprehensive strategy for the sustainable management of these critical ecosystems.
Tamil Nadu’s leadership in securing international recognition for these natural habitats not only reinforces its commitment to conservation but also sets an inspiring example for the nation. As the state continues to champion environmental causes, these Ramsar sites stand as beacons of biodiversity and symbols of responsible stewardship.