Odisha Designates Gupteswar Forest as Biodiversity Heritage Site

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February 14, 2024

Odisha Designates Gupteswar Forest as Biodiversity Heritage Site

• In a recent development, the Odisha government has officially recognized the Gupteswar forest located in the Koraput district as its fourth Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS). This move underscores the significance of preserving unique ecosystems with rich biodiversity, aligning with national efforts to protect ecologically fragile areas.
Understanding Biodiversity Heritage Sites:
• Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS) are designated areas recognized for their exceptional ecological characteristics and abundant biodiversity. These regions typically encompass various elements such as species richness, high endemism, and the presence of rare, endemic, or threatened species. Additionally, they may feature keystone species, species of evolutionary importance, or serve as habitats for wild ancestors of cultivated plants. Some BHS may also hold cultural or aesthetic value, further emphasizing their significance.
Declaration Authority and Guidelines:
• The authority to declare BHS lies with the State Governments under the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act. This declaration process involves consultation with local bodies to ensure inclusive decision-making and representation of community interests. Furthermore, the State Government, in collaboration with the Central Government, has the responsibility to establish management and conservation rules for BHS. Additionally, schemes are devised to compensate or rehabilitate individuals or groups impacted economically by such declarations, ensuring balanced conservation efforts.
Importance of Biodiversity Heritage Sites:
• Biodiversity is intricately linked to ecological stability and resilience. The rise in biodiversity loss and depletion of bioresources underscores the urgent need for conservation measures. By designating areas as BHS, governments aim to promote conservation ethics within communities and safeguard critical ecosystems. Preserving biodiversity not only ensures environmental sustainability but also supports livelihoods dependent on natural resources.
• The designation of the Gupteswar forest as a Biodiversity Heritage Site by the Odisha government reflects a proactive step towards biodiversity conservation and ecological sustainability. This initiative not only protects valuable ecosystems but also emphasizes the need for collective efforts to preserve our natural heritage for future generations.

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Odisha Designates Gupteswar Forest as Biodiversity Heritage Site | Vaid ICS Institute