On 22nd October, Karnataka biodiversity board has decided to name four more spots in the state as biodiversity heritage sites, the reason being the presence of unique and fragile ecosystems, containing rare species of flora and fauna.
Antaranga Betta, Mahima Ranga Betta, Aadi Narayana Swami Betta and Urumbi area on Kumaradhara river basin are the designated spots.
One of the members of the Karnataka Biodiversity Board said that ‘designating an area as a biodiversity heritage site will protect the rich and unique diversity of the area and save it from further deterioration.’
The first spot, Antaranga Betta located in Kolar, acts as a perennial water source in the state which flows throughout the year.
Mahima Ranga Betta in Nelamangala is located in the metropolitan city ‘Bengaluru’. This Betta is one of the few surviving lung spaces in the city. Lung spaces play a crucial role in big overpopulated cities. They reduce pollution by lowering the level of CO2 present in the environment. They are also responsible for rainwater percolation which recharges the groundwater.
Aadi Narayan Swamy Betta in Chickballapur contains dry-belt species which are protected by the locals.
Urumbi area is situated near the banks of Kumardhara river. Kumardhara river basin has 47 plant species endemic to the Western Ghats, out of which 3 are listed as critically endangered and 3 others are endangered in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) species list.
Biodiversity Heritage Sites are listed due to the presence of rare and threatened species in their vicinity which needs protection from external threats of human poaching, forest fires and pollution. They contain a richness of flora and fauna, fossil beds etc. Locals living near such heritage sites protect these places as they attach cultural, ethical and aesthetic values which have been passed down to them from their ancestors.
An area is designated as a national heritage site under section-37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002. The state government in consultation with local bodies may notify areas of importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
Other states throughout the country should take a cue from Karnataka and name other major biodiversity spots as a national heritage site. India’s rich biodiversity is its natural asset, and government and citizens should work towards protecting them.
Government authorities in partnership with locals living in the area should plan for better care of the forest areas, securing the flora and fauna of the area.
It is often seen that many corrupt officials take bribes from the hunters and poachers for destroying the flora and fauna of a critically important site. The officials also make false reports to the government to keep their misdoings in hiding. There needs to be harsh repercussions for such acts and then maybe we can hope for a beautiful and well protected environment.