Amid growing threats to a number of bird species in the country, the Union Environment Ministry has come out with a 10-year comprehensive plan for conservation of birds and their habitats in India through multiple measures including curbing illegal trade of birds and constant surveillance of avian disease.
Visionary Perspective Plan (2020-2030):
- Draft document listed 15 major programmes, ranging from conserving avian habitats in urban areas to conservation of migratory birds, which would be implemented over the short-term (4 years), medium-term (4-7 years) and long-term (7-10 years) periods.
Table is self- explanatory.
- In India, over 370 bird species are reportedly traded making the country the third highest in bird trade globally despite a complete ban on export of live birds (indigenous and captive-bred exotics).
- The main objective of the VPP is to prepare a long-term perspective plan on priority areas for conservation of avian diversity, habitats, ecosystems and landscapes in the country.
- According to the draft birds perform various ecosystem services and functions such as control of insect pests in agriculture and forestry, rodent control, pollination of plants, seed dispersal and forest regeneration and scavenging.
- Decline in their populations is due to destruction of their natural habitats, environmental degradation, changes in land use such as urbanization, environmental pollution and other factors.
- This leads to ecological imbalances like increase in insect and rodent populations, vector-borne diseases, etc.
- There are a total of 870 Protected Areas (PAs) (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Community Reserves and Conservation Reserves) in the country, many with high avian diversity.
- A total of 554 sites in India have also been designated as “Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)” of which 219 IBAs are outside the PA network and are under severe anthropogenic pressure.
- There are presently 2,01,503 wetlands (above 2.25 hectares in the country, most of which are under stress due to impacts of urbanization and agricultural runoffs .