Karnataka To Add Four Biodiversity Heritage Sites

  • 10 Nov 2020

The Karnataka Biodiversity Board has decided to declare four more areas in the State as biodiversity heritage sites. They are

  1. Antaragange Betta in Kolar
  2. Aadi Narayana Swamy Betta in Chickballapur
  3. Mahima Ranga Betta in Nelamangala
  4. Urumbi area on the Kumaradhara river basin in Dakshina Kannada

What are “Biodiversity Heritage Sites”?

  • “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:
  • Richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories.
  • High endemism.
  • Presence of rare and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance.
  • Wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or their varieties.
  • Past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values and are important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human association with them.

Who declares a BHS

  • Under Section-37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 the State Government in consultation with local bodies may notify areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS).

CBD, Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and BHS

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted at the Rio Earth Summit, 1992 is based on three fold objectives: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
  • The primary requirement for the first objective, as noted by CBD, is the in-situ conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings.
  • To ensure in-situ conservation of biological diversity, every contracting party to the CBD is required to establish a system of Protected Areas (PA). PAs are geographical defined areas which are designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives
  • The CBD also mandates parties to develop guidelines for selection, establishment and management of such areas.
  • In order to fulfill the objectives of CBD, India enacted the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (BD Act, 2002).
  • For its implementation, the BD Act, 2002 institutes a three tier structure: National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) at the apex level, State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) at state level and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at local body level.
  • One of the salient features of the Act with respect to in-situ conservation is conserve and develop areas of importance from the standpoint of biological diversity by declaring them as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS).
  • The Act grants State Governments the power to notify areas of biodiversity importance as BHS and in consultation with the Central Government to frame rules for their management and conservation.