AKHTER HUSSAIN NAJAR
Wetlands are a prominent ecosystem, where one can feel the interactions of biotic and abiotic components. It is filled by water seasonally or permanently. Wetlands are the transition zone between the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem, where the water table is usually near or at the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Wetlands fall in unique category irrespective from other water bodies or other landforms because of distinct features of aquatic plants. Wetlands are most productive environments by providing sufficient water and contain vast biological diversity; it replenishes ground water and maintains balance in water table.
According to Ramsar convention wetlands defined as “areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, weather 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 doesn’t exceed six mtrs. Wetlands are celebrated on 2nd of February every year with a theme, this year’s wetland theme is “Wetland and Biodiversity” wetland and biodiversity are the two sides of same coin, wetland is the home of number of species.
Wetland supports water birds , fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and plant species during the important stages in life as wetlands provides them roosting, foraging, nesting and feeding habitat, wetlands sometimes called “Biological Super System”, because they produce great volumes of food that support huge diversity at different levels. Wetlands support huge population in context of generation of livelihood i.e. support to agriculture by maintaining water table, bearing huge quantity and quality of species, timber, fodder, other wetland products, including herbal medicines, recreational, tourism potential and opportunities. One of the important function is capture and store carbon dioxide from atmosphere.
Due to the exceeding population in the Kashmir, the wetlands are the most threatened areas that has been encroached at present by the masses, wetlands becomes the dumping sites of the wastes from hospitals, industries, as community also uses these wetlands as drainage sites, the pollution level in wetlands increased due to the above mentioned activities, the decreasing biological diversity day by day and the increasing chances of endemism is the indicator of mass usage of involvement of water bodies by anthropogenic way. A fall of emergency should be announced from government side for speedy recovery, restoration and preservation of the wetlands in Jammu and Kashmir, perhaps the future generation will not feel lucky to explore these wetlands.
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