Ramsar Convention: A tool for wise use of wetlands

In India, wetlands are distributed in all the biogeographic regions and exhibit significant ecological diversity, primarily because of the variability in climate, geology, habitat and topography. Wetlands provide a multitude of services, including water purification and regulation of flows, fisheries, habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and so forth (Wetlands International 2002). The Ramsar Convention came into force in 1975; there are 157 Contracting Parties. In all, 1,704 wetland sites have been designated as Ramsar sites, with a total area of 152 million hectares. India became a Contracting Party to the Convention in October 1981, and designated the Chilika Lake (Orissa) and the Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) as its first two Ramsar sites. (Editorial)