|Wednesday, 23 June 2010 17:25|
Wetlands are the most fertile and productive eco-systems in the world. It performs variety of ecological, hydrological and socioeconomic functions on the earth, Ground water recharging, flood control, nutrition retention, providing livelihood to local communities are the other benefits derived from the wetlands. Providing habitat and food to a variety of animals and plants is one of the most important functions of the wetlands.
Khijadiya wetland at Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary represents a complex man made fresh water reservoirs which are bordered by coastal wetlands on the northern side. The fresh water wetland and coastal wetland are separated by earthen bunds. The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is located on the western most point of the state and also adjacent of the Gulf of Kutch which makes its location very specific. The Khijadiya wetlands falls on the Indo-Asia flyway of Bird migration, the migratory water birds coming through lran and Afghanistan to Pakistan and then entering to North West India comes to the Khijadiya Birds Sanctuary or its neighboring area in the Gulf of Kutch. Some of them stay here for the whole wintering season to utilize this area as wintering ground. Where as some other visit as a stop over before migrating southwards. The birds which migrates south wards also utilizes this area on their return migration.
The Wetland at the sanctuary plays a vital role for supporting breeding of several resident and migratory water birds. The species like Painted stork, Black necked stork, White ibis and Eurasian spoonbill which are globally threatened as per Bird life internationals Red Data List (2001) are found breeding here. Certain uncommon breeder in the state like Great crested grebe, Glossy ibis and Black necked stork are found breeding in the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary which makes the area very popular.
Apart from shallow water fresh lakes the wetland complex of Khijadiya also has extensive marshes on the southern shore of the Gulf of Kutch. The creeks and salt pans adjoining the fresh water wetlands have direct bearing on the eco system of Khijadiya wetland. The creeks and marshes becomes paradise for waders and salt pans provide ideal roosting grounds for migratory Cranes, Greater and Lesser Flamingoes and Pelicans.
As stated above the sanctuary encompasses combination of fresh water man made wetland eco-system and fresh water marsh eco-system. Both these eco-system are ecologically inter-linked and influenced by adjacent brackish/saline eco system. Therefore, the bio-diversity thrives at eco-system, species and individual levels. Therefore, the bio-diversity thriving at all three levels provide uniqueness to the Sanctuary.
The floral diversity is very high representing 39 families 74 genera 108 species.
The floras are represented in the forms of herbs, shrubs climbers’ twiner creeper grasses and tree species. The faunal diversity is also excellent. The Sanctuary supports a variety of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate and vertebrate species. Invertebrates includes species of insects, gastropods and crustacean among vertebrates amphibian like frog, fishes and reptiles like snakes, skink monitor lizard, garden lizard tortoise and turtle and birds more than 218 species and mammals like Headhog porcupine Indian here, fox, Jackal, Jungle cat Mongoose, Blue bull and wolf are found in the Sanctuary and adjoining area.
The Grassland Eco-System
The Dhunvav section of the Sanctuary is having predominantly black soil and once the water dries up in the month of March many species of grasses thrives in the area transforms into excellent grassland eco-system. The grassland becomes bubbling with numerous insects which provides food and shelter to the amphibians, reptiles and small mammals found in the sanctuary. Herbivores like Indian hare and Blue bull also found here. The raptors like Steppe eagle, marsh harrier, Greater spotted eagle and crested serpent eagle are at the top level of the ecological pyramid. Thus various complex grassland food chains and food webs are observed here.
|Last Updated on Friday, 02 July 2010 11:54|