Areas of marsh, fen, peatland/water, whether natural (or) artificial, permanent (or) temporary with water that is static (or) flowing, fresh, brackish (or) salt, including areas of marine

water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6 mtrs.

Wetlands Classification-

  1. Inland wetland-

a)Natural- Lakes / Ponds, Ox-bow Lakes, Waterlogged, Swamp/marsh

  1. b) Manmade- Reservoirs Tank, Ash pond
  2. Costal Wetland-
  3. A) Natural- Coral reef, Tidal flat, Mangroves, Salt marsh, Estuary, Lagoon, Creek,

Backwater, Bay

b)-manmade -• Salt pans, Aquculture

Functions of Wetlands-

  • Habitat to aquatic flora and fauna, birds
  • Filtration of sediments and nutrients from surface water,
  • Nutrients recycling, Water purification Floods mitigation,
  • Ground water recharging, Buffer shorelines against erosion,
  • Genetic reservoir for various species of plants(rice)
  • the National Lake Conservation Programme (NLCP) considers lakes as standing water
  • bodies which have a minimum water depth of 3 m, generally cover a water spread of more than ten hectares, and have no or very little aquatic vegetation.
  • Wetlands (generally less than 3 m deep over most of their area) are usually rich in nutrients (derived from surroundings and their sediments) and have .abundant growth of aquatic macrophytes

India’s Wetland

Wetlands occupy 18.4% of the country’s area of which 70% are under paddy cultivation.

Inland wetlands >Costal Wetlands


National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP)

  • NWCP was implemented in the year 1985-86.
  • Under the programme, 115 wetlands have been identified by the Ministry which require urgent conservation and management interventions.


  • Conservation of wetlands to prevent their further degradation and ensuring their wise
  • use for the benefit of local communities and overall conservation of biodiversity.


  • to lay down policy guidelines for conservation and management of wetlands in the country.
  • to provide financial assistance for undertaking intensive conservation measures in the identified wetlands
  • The Central Government is responsible for overall coordination of wetland
  • conservation programmes and initiatives at the international and national levels. It also provides guidelines, financial & technical assistance to state govt.
  • State Governments/UT Administration are responsible for management of wetlands and implementation of the NWCP for ensuring their wise-use


Criteria for Identification of Wetlands of National Importance

Criteria for identification of wetlands of national importance under NWCP are same as those prescribed under the ‘Ramsar Convention on Wetlands’ and are as given below:

  1. Sites containing representative, rare or unique wetland types

example of a natural or near-natural wetland type’ found within the appropriate biogeographic region.

  1. Criteria based on species and ecological communities
  • If it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species; or
  • threatened ecological communities.
  • If it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
  • If it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.


  1. Specific criteria based on water birds
  • If it regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds.
  • If it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbirds.


  1. Specific criteria based on fish
  • If it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages,  species  interactions  and/or  populations  that  are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.
  • If it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.
  1. Specific criteria based on water/life and culture
  • If it is an important source of food and water resource, increased possibilities for recreation  and eco-tourism, improved scenic values, educational opportunities, conservation of cultural heritage (historic or religious sites)