Mirgund wetland: Turning into a sedge meadow?

It is the duty of the local communities, district level administration in particular, and the state government in general, to identify these ecosystems, work for their conservation.
GK Photo
GK Photo

Evanescence comes from the Latin word evanescere meaning "disappear, vanish."  The evanescence of a shooting star makes it hard to catch — it's there one moment and gone the next. This is the case with our valley wetlands. Kashmir valley is dotted with wetlands all along the Jehlum floodplain, many of them we have lost for ever, and several are endangered.

Mirgund wetland, about 16 Kms from Srinagar  on the Gulmarg road was a famous bird shooting resort a few decades back. There was an open water area, an overwintering site for the winter visitors, ducks and geese and rest of the wetland was waterlogged and harboured aquatic plant diversity. The wetland was a repository of some important water plants. Since several years Mirgund did not receive its share of winter migrants, the simple reason it did not get its share of water from Sukhnag and Ferozepur streams.  The wetland is experiencing the trouble of land use change. Although the wetland is far away from the human settlement but the agricultural land all around it and the edacity of the local populace is a major threat to the wetland. It is no more the camping site of  waterbirds  during winter. Aquatic plants are giving way to plant species like grasses and sedges which are tolerant to long drought conditions. A few waterbird species are seen breeding in the wetland during the short drawdown period during summers. We are losing Mirgund wetland to farming expansion. The wetland  is unheeded by  the state wildlife protection department although it falls under its jurisdiction. 

A holistic view of wetlands is necessary which looks at wetlands  as causal linkages with other natural entities, human needs and its own attributes are of much importance. Once treated as transitional habitats in succession from open water to land, the wetlands are now considered to be distinct ecosystems with specific ecological characteristics, functions and values. The rural poor are more dependent on natural ecosystems like wetlands for their livelihood and economic prospects.  So the rural population is most vulnerable when such ecosystems undergo degradation. It is the duty of the local communities, district level administrations and state government to identify these ecosystems, work for their conservation and use these areas wisely so as to further prevent their degradation. 

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