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Handbook on Indian Wetlands and Their Conservation

The biodiversity and the ecological functions of wetlands are unfortunately not widely recognised, especially in India. Wetlands are often regarded as mere "waste lands" and they are particularly vulnerable to destruction through overuse, abuse or draining for agriculture.
 
The Zoological Survey of India along with the four authors of this book seeks to clarify the term wetlands, their importance in the ecology (as they form vital links to the food chain) and hence the need to conserve them.

The book also elucidates that wetland birds do not only comprise waterfowl, ducks and their relatives, but also include herons, cranes, plovers, raptors and their kin that swim or wade in the water and many others that depend on wetlands for nesting and roosting areas for food like the Marsh Harrier. This attractively produced book provides extensive information on 310 wetland bird species, including 243 waterbirds and 67 wetland dependent and associated birds listed from India; of which 51 species are globally threatened. Awareness of waterbirds is a vital step in promoting their conservation.
 
And when learning becomes a pleasure as information is presented in a way that captures our interest and educates us at the same time, what more can one ask for! Through liberal use of colour photographs (though the reproduction is disappointing), illustrations and distribution maps that complement the large number of data tables, graphs and charts that are evident even at a quick glance; the first part of the book provides a comprehensive field guide of the Indian wetland birds. It gives an overview of the range of habitats in India, the heronries of the country, bird migration in the region and a fairly exhaustive checklist.
 
The second part of the book is a compilation of original as well as previously published material from across the globe. Through chapters like "Framework for Conservation", the authors provide information to students of wetland birds on the various conventions on wetlands and migratory species and a summary of the Ramsar sites that are listed in the appendices at the end. It also describes national laws concerned with bird protection and international treaties and conservation measures.
 
It lists details of some organisations involved with conservation. A chapter enlisting threatened birds and conservation techniques to save them has also been provided for easy reference.With limited literature available on wetland habitats, their wildlife and conservation, this book is a must for all those interested in protecting wetlands.
 
 
Reviewed by Arundhuti Mitra
By Arun Kumar, J.P. Sati, P.C. Tak, J.R.B. Alfred, Published by: The Zoological Survey of India,
Hardcover Price Rs. 1,500/-
 
 
 

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