Gupteswar Forest Designated as a Biodiversity-Heritage Site in Odisha

Image depicting the significance of biodiversity, with the title 'Biodiversity Now | Biodiversity is the variety of all living
Unveiling the Ecological Jewel: Gupteswar Forest Designated as a Biodiversity-Heritage Site in Odisha

The designation of Biodiversity-Heritage Sites (BHS) under India’s Biological Diversity Act of 2002 empowers State Governments to pinpoint exceptional and delicate ecosystems worthy of preservation. These designations are guided by a set of criteria that encompass various facets of ecological significance, including the presence of rich biodiversity, endemism, rare and threatened species, cultural value, and historical relevance. This framework ensures that areas designated as BHS are not only biologically diverse but also culturally and historically significant, reflecting the intertwined relationship between nature and human civilization.

Understanding Biodiversity-Heritage Sites (BHS):

  • Designation under India’s Biological Diversity Act, 2002, allows State Governments to identify unique and fragile ecosystems.
  • Criteria include rich biodiversity, endemism, presence of rare and threatened species, cultural significance, and historical importance.

The Gupteswar Forest:

  • Located adjacent to the Gupteswar Shiva temple in Odisha’s Koraput district.
  • Recently declared as the fourth Biodiversity-Heritage Site (BHS) of the state.
  • Encompasses a demarcated area of 350 hectares.

Biodiversity Inventory:

  • Survey conducted by the Odisha Biodiversity Board reveals rich flora and fauna.
  • Faunal diversity includes 608 species, featuring mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and butterflies.
  • Notable species: mugger crocodile, kanger valley rock gecko, sacred grove bush frog, among others.
  • Limestone caves harbor diverse bat species, with some classified as near-threatened.

Floral Diversity:

  • Abundant with 182 tree species, 76 shrub species, 177 herb species, and others.
  • Presence of 14 orchid species and threatened medicinal plants.
  • Microorganisms of agricultural and industrial importance thrive in this ecosystem.

Conservation and Development Efforts:

  • Declaration as a BHS enhances biodiversity conservation and preserves cultural ties.
  • Odisha government allocated Rs 35 lakh for conservation action plans and community awareness initiatives.
  • Potential for eco-tourism and non-timber forest products to support local livelihoods.

Impact and Significance:

  • Enhanced conservation efforts will safeguard the precious biodiversity of Gupteswar Forest.
  • Gupteswar joins the ranks of other BHSs in Odisha, including Mandasaru, Mahendragiri, and Gandhamardan.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post