Gangtey-Phobji de­clared as the third Ram­sar Site of Bhutan

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Dorji

Gangtey- Phobji wet­lands area in Wang­duepho­drang, has been in­cluded in the List of Wet­lands of In­ter­na­tional Im­por­tance ( the Ram­sar List). This brings the to­tal Ram­sar site in the coun­try to three. The other two sites are Bumdel­ing in Tashiyangtse and Kho­takha in Wang­duepho­drang.

Wet­lands in Bhutan con­sti­tute an ex­ten­sive ar­ray of ecosys­tems, such as lakes, rivers, streams, glaciers, marshes, peat bogs and fens. Func­tional wet­lands are crit­i­cal seg­ments of the wa­ter­shed, as they sup­port a high level of bi­o­log­i­cal pro­duc­tiv­ity and diver­sity, pro­vide habi­tat for flora and fauna, in­clud­ing rare and threat­ened com­mu­ni­ties and species, main­tain lo­cal and re­gional hy­dro­log­i­cal re- gimes, re­move nu­tri­ent and pol­lu­tants, act as stores for rain/ flood wa­ter and sup­port hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties and val­ues. Wet­lands are recog­nised to pro­vide fun­da­men­tal ecosys­tem ser­vices, such as wa­ter reg­u­la­tion, fil­ter­ing and pu­rifi­ca­tion, as well as nu­mer­ous sci­en­tific, cul­tural and recre­ational val­ues. Wet­lands are also im­por­tant for the main­te­nance of the broader ecosys­tem health.

The in­clu­sion of the new site in the Ram­sar list is the Depart­ment of Forests and Park Ser­vices’ ef­fort to con­serve and pro­mote the sus­tain­able use of the im­por­tant wet­lands area that is home to the vul­ner­a­ble Black­necked Cranes ( Grus ni­gri­col­lis). The aim of the Ram­sar list is “to de­velop and main­tain an in­ter­na­tional net­work of wet­lands which are im­por­tant for the con­ser­va­tion of global bi­o­log­i­cal diver­sity and for sus­tain­ing hu­man life through the main­te­nance of their ecosys­tem com­po­nents, pro­cesses and ben­e­fits/ ser­vices”.

The Ram­sar Con­ven­tion, adopted in the Ira­nian city of Ram­sar in Fe­bru­ary 1971, is the old­est global en­vi­ron­ment agree­ment. It pro­motes the wise- use and con­ser­va­tion of wa­ter and wet­land re­sources through na­tional ac­tion and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion. Bhutan be­came the 161st con­tract­ing party to the Ram­sar Con­ven­tion in 2012. Along with the over­all man­age­ment of all the wet­lands ar­eas in Bhutan, the Wa­ter­shed Man­age­ment Di­vi­sion of the Depart­ment of Forests and Park Ser­vices, co­or­di­nates the man­age­ment of the Ram­sar sites, pro­mot­ing the wise use of wet­lands.

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