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Environment

Biodiversity Heritage Site

Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS) are well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems - terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity.

Nov 24, 2022

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List of contents in this explainer about the Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS)
 

S.NoContents
1.News: Tamil Nadu gets its first biodiversity heritage site
2.Site name
3.Villages
4.District
5.Area
6.Area surrounded by 
7.Lakes and dams
8.BHS declaration is made under 
9.What are the benefits of declaring a site Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)?
10.Who notified the site as Biodiversity Heritage Site?
11.Who recommended the site to be declared as a Biodiversity Heritage Site?
12.Historical Significances
13.Arittapatti is famous for
14.What is a Biodiversity Heritage Site?
15.List of Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India
16.Prelims questions
17.Mains question

 

News: Tamil Nadu gets its first biodiversity heritage site

 

Site name

 
Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site
 

Villages

 
Arittapatti (Melur Taluk) and Meenakshipuram (Madurai East Taluk).
 

District

 
Madurai
 

Area

 
139.63 hectares in Arittapatti and 53.58 hectares in Meenakshipuram.
 

Area surrounded by

 
Chain of 7 hillocks or inselbergs that serve as a watershed
 

Lakes and dams

 
72 lakes, 200 natural springs, and 3 check-dams.
 

BHS declaration is made under 

 
Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act.
 

What are the benefits of declaring a site Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)?

 
1. Help in protecting its rich and exclusive ecosystem.
2. Factors that may harm the biodiversity will be kept at bay.
3. Prevent the loss of biodiversity and preserve the cultural and the architectural heritage of the past.
 

Who notified the site as Biodiversity Heritage Site?

 
Tamil Nadu government
 

Who recommended the site to be declared as a Biodiversity Heritage Site?

 
Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board
 

Historical Significances

 
1. Anaikondan Tank was built during the reign of the Pandyan Kings in the 16th century.
2. Several megalithic structures.
3. Rock-cut temples.
4. Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.
5. Jain beds.
 

Arittapatti is famous for

 
1. Ecological and historical significances.
2. Houses around 250 species of birds.
3. Including 3 important raptors - Laggar Falcon, Shaheen Falcon, Bonelli's Eagle
4. Home to wildlife viz. Indian Pangolin, Slender loris and pythons.
 

What is a Biodiversity Heritage Site?

 
As per National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) “Biodiversity Heritage Sites” (BHS) are well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems - terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the following components:
 
1. Richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories
2. High endemism
3. Presence of rare and threatened species
4. Keystone species
5. Species of evolutionary significance
6. Wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or their varieties
7. Past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds
8. Having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values
9. Important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human association with them.
 

List of Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India

 
S.NoSiteLocationUniqueness (Source : NBA)
1.Nallur Tamarind GroveDevanahalli, Bengaluru, KarnatakaIt is popularly believed to be a relic of the Chola Dynasty that ruled nearly 800 years ago, is spectacle of awesome wonder and a freakish site. This BHS spread over 54 acres comprising a population of nearly 300 trees, is a picture of dynamic pattern of plant diversity. The significant component of this popular structure is a group of old plants standing like ageless sentinels, firmly rooted to the ground with their gigantic trunks, along with large picturesque crowns spread very high and aloft like open wings.
2.HogrekanKadur, Chikmagalur, KarnatakaThe area has unique Shola vegetation and grass land with number of floral species which are unique and having lot of medicinal value. Hogrekan is moderately wooded land and its vegetation is of dry deciduous type and has a link with Bababudanagiri and Kemmangundi, adjoining Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Yemmedode Tiger Reserve and serving as "Wildlife Corridor" between Kudremukha and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
3.University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, BengaluruBengaluru, KarnatakaThe GKVK campus is considered one of the greenest areas in Bengaluru. Biological diversity of this campus constitutes a critical repository of various forms of flora and fauna (including 13 sp of mammals, 10 sp of reptiles, 165 sp of birds and 530 sp of plants) which needs to be protected nurtured to posterity.
4.AmbaragudaShimoga, KarnatakaIt is a revenue land located between Sharavathi Wild Life Sanctuary and Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary. It has Shola vegetation which is primitive vegetation in the Western Ghat and also has grasslands.
5.Glory of AllapalliGadchiroli, MaharashtraIt is a reserved forest being preserved as natural forest having biological, ethinical and historical values.
6.Tonglu BHS under the Darjeeling Forest DivisionDarjeeling, West BengalIt is a Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas
7.Dhotrey BHS under the Darjeeling Forest DivisionDarjeeling, West BengalIt is a Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas
8.Dialong VillageTamenglong, Manipur-
9. Ameenpur lakeSangareddy, Telangana-
10.MajuliMajuli, AssamIt is an island situated in the Brahmaputra River which is harboring unique Ecological and Cultural Heritage.
11.Ghariyal Rehabilitation CentreLucknow, Uttar PradeshIt is a centre established for conservation and rehabilitation of critically endangered species of Gharial.
12.Chilkigarh Kanak DurgaJhargram, West BengalChilkigarh Kanak Durga Sacred Grove is a remnant forest with traditional beliefs and taboos of local inhabitants and rich in biodiversity covering an area of 55.9 acres in Jhargram District of West Bengal.
13.Khlaw Kur  Syiem KmieIngRi-Bhoi, MeghalayaIt is a mosaic of natural habitats along with significant diversity of life forms. It is also an old  Sacred Grove with monoliths and religious spots.
14. MandasaruKandhamal, OdishaMandasaru gorge is an adobe of 1563 species of plants, animals and fungi spreaded over an area of 528 ha.
15.Purvatali RaiNorth Goa, GoaSacred grove
16.Naro HillsSatna, Madhya PradeshUnique and varied geology and it supports a large number of ecosystem and species of Flora and Fauna.
17.PatalkotChhindwara, Madhya PradeshTerrain of 1700 feet deep valley and ecosystem of estimated age of 6 Million years and species of rare flora and fauna including rare Bryophytes and Pteridopytes;
18.AsramamKollam, KeralaThe BHS hosts a unique diversity of Mangrove species with diverse flora and fauna. The area harbours 15 sp. of true mangroves, 22 sp. of mangroves associated. 122 sp. of plants, 34 sp. of edible fish and about 62 sp. of birds. Most importantly, the site has the rare and endangered heritage trees of Syzygium travancoricum which is listed as critically endangered in IUCN Red List.
19.Bambarde Myristica SwampsDodamarg, Maharashtra-
20.Ganeshkhind GardenPune, Maharashtra-
21.LandorkhoriJalgaon, Maharashtra-
22.Shistura HiranyakeshiSindhudurg, MaharashtraThe fish Schistura hiranyakeshi was spotted for the first time in a pond at the Mahadev Temple at Amboli in Sindhudurg district , Western Ghats The 2.11 ha area has now been declared as ‘Shistura Hiranyakeshi Biological Heritage Site’ in April 2021. It has become the 5th such heritage site in the state of Maharashtra. The fish was found by the team led by Tejas Thackeray, a wildlife researcher, and son of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.
23.Baneswar Shiva DighiCoochbehar - IIIt offers refuge to Black Softshell Turtle Nilssonia nigricans listed under Appendix I of CITES and extinct  in the wild category of IUCN.
24.Sacred Grove at Sural Bhatori MonasteryChamba, Himachal PradeshA patch of Betula utilis or Bhojpatra trees wilh some intersp~rsed Willow trees Dominant shrubs and herbs: Rosa species, Lonicera species, Sorbus species, Agropyron longearistatum, Festuca species, Primula denticulata, Polygonatum verticillatum, Plantago asiatica, Heracleum candicans, Berberis species, Artemisia species, Bunium Persicum etc. Major faunal species, in the surrounding area: Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Tibetan ·Wolf, Ibex etc
25.High Altitude Meadow at Hudan BhatoriChamba, himachal PradeshCotoneaster species, Lonicera species, Sorbus species, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Bromusasper, Fesruca species, Poa species, Primula denticulata, Picrorhiza kurroa, Anemone species. Iris species, Artemisia species. Lonicera spocies, Bunium persicum, Jurinea macrocephala etc. Important Horal species recorded in the area: Picrorhiza kurroa, Dactylorhiza haragirea, Aconitum heterophyllum, Podophyllum hexandrum and Saussurea costus (cultivated). Major faunal species, in the region: Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Marmot, Ibex and Royle's Pika.
26.Birch-pine Forest Patch at Nain GaharLahaul & Spiti, Himachal PradeshMain trees are Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis) and Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiiana). A few middle aged trees of West Himalayan Spruce (Picea smithiana), Deodar (Cedrus deodara) and Juniper (Juniperus species) are interspersed in the proposed patch. Besides. Willow (Salix species) and Sea Buckthorn (Jlippophae salicifolia) are also present in the site. The proposed site also includes a very good patch of grassy area, which supports a very good population of important medicinal and aromatic plants like Picrorhzza kurroa. Dactylorhiza hacagirea, Aconitum heterophyllum, Podophyllum hexandrum, Aconitum violaceum, Bunium persicum, Hippophae rhamnoides etc.
27.Baramura waterfallKhowai, TripuraThe highest natural waterfall in Tripura. Critical habitat for rare wildlife. Rich in floristic diversity. Habitat for many stream water favored fauna
28.UnakotiUnakoti, TripuraCultural and religious significance, Example of Ethno-religious aspects, Sacred trees and stones,Rich forest flora and fauna, Source of natural stream flow has diverse ecosystem services, Site of semi wild, wild and domesticated ornamental plants.
29.Silachari CavesGomati, TripuraOnly natural cave of Tripura. Unique habitat for several threatened cave bat species in Tripura. Rich floristic diversity. Ethno-religious and cultural significance. Critical habitat for rare wildlife. Stream rich in aquatic fauna. Multi- ecosystem services.
30.Debbari or ChabimuraGomati, TripuraRiver forest ecosystems at Debbari with rich fauna and flora. Unique habitat for threatened plants of Tripura like Dhup tree and cane resources of India. Unique breeding habitat for threatened fishes of Tripura. Unique breeding habitat for threatened wildlife of Tripura.
31.Betlingshib & its surroundingsNorth District, TripuraGeographical/ topographical significance: The highest peak of Tripura allows unique habitat ecosystem. Aesthetic value: View of Mizoram and Chittagon hill tracts, other hills of Jampui, orange orchards. Due to change in altitude, topography and climate the vegetation is totally unique compared to the mainland of the state. Biodiversity Significance: Highest floristic diversity in Tripura. Conservation significance: Suitable habitat for several red listed flora and fauna. Medicinal plant conservation area. Cultural significance: Diverse agro-ecosystem model.
32.Amarkantak at Madhya PradeshAnuppur, Madhya PradeshSite is situated on the Maikal mountain range which links the Vindhyachal and Satpura mountain ranges, at about 1067 meters above mean sea level. Site has unique terrain of 1700 ft. deep valley and ecosystem of estimated age of 6 Million year and species of rare flora & fauna including rare Bryophytes and Pteridophytes. Site is spread over 8367 .49hectare area. Amarkantak ecological system is the origin of three major rivers which contributes to water security of India, which need to be conserved.
33.Hajong Tortoise Lake at AssamDima Hasao, AssamThis lake is a natural habitat of Critically Endangered freshwater ‘Black Softshell turtle’ Nilssonia nigricans and Endangered ‘Indian Peacock Softshell turtle’ Nilssonia hurum besides other major flora and fauna. This site also harbour the threatened species like Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Vulnerable Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Sambar (Rusa unicolor), Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus), Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) etc.
34.Borjuli Wild Rice Site at AssamSonitpur, AssamThis BHS has a good population of wild species of rice -Oryza rufipogon. The wetland located at 26.810888 N, 92.623559 E having area of 0.41 ha harbour a viable population of wild rice. This is a unique site due to population richness of this species, but both are vulnerable to climate change and anthropogenic activities. The species (O. rufipogon) possess genes for disease and pest resistance, tolerance to submergence and salinity, thus, important resource in breeding and improvement of rice crop and many of our current varieties derive many genes from this species. Its in-situ conservation for evolutionary process and adaptation to changing climate is important. This will be wealth for posterity not only for India but for the whole world. Oryza rufipogon, the progenitor of present-day cultivated rice, O. sativa, is one of the most studied wild species of rice. It is a perennial plant commonly found in a marsh or aquatic habitats of eastern and southern Asia. O. rufipogon is photosensitive in nature and flowers during short days during the months of November and December. The seeds have a tendency to shatter as soon as they mature. It is tolerant of flooding and acidic soils.
35.Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site at Tamil NaduMadurai, Tamil NaduThis BHS has rich biological and historical significance with the presence of around 250 bird species including 3 flagship Raptor species - Laggar Falcon, Shaheen Falcon, Bonelli's Eagle and wildlife like Indan Pangolin, Python and Slender Loris.

 

 

 

Prelims questions

 

1. Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site is located in the state of 

 

A. Karnataka

B. Tamil Nadu

C. Kerala

D. Andhra Pradesh

 

2. Consider the following

 

1. Richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories
2. High endemism
3. Presence of rare and threatened species
4. Keystone species
 
Which of the above is/are the defining features of a Biodiversity Heritage Site?
 
A. Only one of the above
B. Only two of the above
C. Only three of the above
D. All of the above
 
3. Nallur Tamarind Grove is a Biodiversity Heritage Site located in the state of 
 
Kerala
Andhra Pradesh
Karnataka
Telangana
 
4. Anaikondan Tank was built during the reign of the Pandyan Kings in the 16th century in which of the following places?
 
A. Thanjavur
B. Madurai
C. Poompuhar
D. Theni
 
5. Consider the following
 
1. Majuli
2. Borjuli Wild Rice Site
3. Hajong Tortoise Lake
4. Amarkantak
 
Which of the above is/are Biodiversity Heritage Site/s?
 
A. Only one of the above
B. Only two of the above
C. Only three of the above
D. All of the above
 
Mains question
 
1. Briefly explain the historical and ecological significances of the Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site.
 

 

Source : National Biodiversity Authority, In Arittapatti, Tamil Nadu gets its first biodiversity heritage site, The Hindu

 

Image : Representational image by Quangpraha/Pixabay

 

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