IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th April, 2023 Environment

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  • The Bengal government has notified Char Balidanga (Nadia), Namthing Pokhari (Darjeeling), Amkhoi Wood Fossil Park (Birbhum) and State Horticulture Research and Development Station (Nadia) as the four latest biodiversity heritage parks taking the number in the state to eight.

What are BHS?

  • They are well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems - terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity.
  • They comprise of any one or more of the following components:
    • richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories,
    • high endemism,
    • presence of rare and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance, wild ancestors of domestic/ cultivated species or their varieties,
    • past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and
    • having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values and are important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human association with them.

About the new sites

Char Balidanga

  • It comprises two islands spread across 115 acres.
  • It has tropical riverine vegetation with tall grasses and trees, along with swampy flat land covered with algal mats, which are periodically inundated with tidal ebbs.
  • It is home to almost 100 species of birds, apart from golden monitor lizards and golden jackals.

Namthing Pokhari

  • It is a natural Himalayan wetland in the Kurseong block, covering an area of 11.9 acres, and home to the Himalayan Salamander.

Amkhoi Wood Fossil Park

  • It has unique geological and paleo-botanical features.

The State Horticulture Research and Development Station

  • Located at Krishnanagar in Nadia, covering 97.88 acres, hosts indigenous horticulture germplasm of orchard trees.
  • The four existing BHS in Bengal are Dhotrey and Tonglu, both in Darjeeling, Chilkigarh Kanak Durga Biodiversity Heritage Site in Jhargram and Baneswar Shiv Dighi in Cooch Behar.

List of Biodiversity Heritage Sites 

S. No.

Name of the Site



Importance of the area


Nallur Tamarind Grove


54 acres

It is popularly believed to be a relic of the Chola Dynasty that ruled nearly 800 years ago, is spectacle of awesome wonder and a freakish site. This BHS spread over 54 acres comprising a population of nearly 300 trees, is a picture of dynamic pattern of plant diversity. The significant component of this popular structure is a group of old plants standing like ageless sentinels, firmly rooted to the ground with their gigantic trunks, along with large picturesque crowns spread very high and aloft like open wings.




2508.15 acres

The area has unique Shola vegetation and grass land with number of floral species which are unique and having lot of medicinal value. Hogrekan is moderately wooded land and its vegetation is of dry deciduous type and has a link with Bababudanagiri and Kemmangundi, adjoining Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Yemmedode Tiger Reserve and serving as "Wildlife Corridor" between Kudremukha and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.


University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bengaluru


167 hectares

The GKVK campus is considered one of the greenest areas in Bengaluru. Biological diversity of this campus constitutes a critical repository of various forms of flora and fauna (including 13 sp of mammals, 10 sp of reptiles, 165 sp of birds and 530 sp of plants) which needs to be protected nurtured to posterity.




3857.12 hectares

It is a revenue land located between Sharavathi Wild Life Sanctuary and Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary. It has Shola vegetation which is primitive vegetation in the Western Ghat and also has grasslands.


Glory of Allapalli


6 hectares

It is a reserved forest being preserved as natural forest having biological, ethinical and historical values.


Tonglu BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division

West Bengal

230 hectares

It is a Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas


Dhotrey BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division

West Bengal

180 hectares

It is a Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas


Dialong Village


11.35 Sq.km



Ameenpur lake







875 Sq.km

It is an island situated in the Brahmaputra River which is harboring unique Ecological and Cultural Heritage.


Ghariyal Rehabilitation Centre

Uttar Pradesh

10 Hectares

It is a centre established for conservation and rehabilitation of critically endangered species of Gharial.


Chilkigarh Kanak Durga

West Bengal

55.9 Acres (Perimeter Of 1,969 Meters)

Chilkigarh Kanak Durga Sacred Grove is a remnant forest with traditional beliefs and taboos of local inhabitants and rich in biodiversity covering an area of 55.9 acres in Jhargram District of West Bengal.


Khlaw Kur  Syiem KmieIng


16.05 ha

It is a mosaic of natural habitats along with significant diversity of life forms. It is also an old  Sacred Grove with monoliths and religious spots.




528 ha

Mandasaru gorge is an adobe of 1563 species of plants, animals and fungi spreaded over an area of 528 ha.


Purvatali Rai


7300 Sq. mts.

Sacred Grove


Naro Hills

Madhya Pradesh

200 hect

Unique and varied geology and it supports a large number of ecosystem and species of Flora and Fauna.



Madhya Pradesh

8367.49 hect.,

terrain of 1700 feet deep valley and ecosystem of estimated age of 6 Million years and species of rare flora and fauna including rare Bryophytes and Pteridopytes;




57.53 hect.,

The BHS hosts a unique diversity of Mangrove species with diverse flora and fauna. The area harbours 15 sp. of true mangroves, 22 sp. of mangroves associated. 122 sp. of plants, 34 sp. of edible fish and about 62 sp. of birds. Most importantly, the site has the rare and endangered heritage trees of Syzygium travancoricum which is listed as critically endangered in IUCN Red List.


Bambarde Myristica Swamps


2.59 Ha.,



Ganeshkhind Garden


33.01 Ha.,





48.08 Ha.,



Schistura Hiranyakeshi


2.11 Ha.,

The fish Schistura hiranyakeshi was spotted for the first time in a pond at the Mahadev Temple at Amboli in Sindhudurg district , Western Ghats The 2.11 ha area has now been declared as ‘Shistura Hiranyakeshi Biological Heritage Site’ in April 2021. It has become the 5th such heritage site in the state of Maharashtra. The fish was found by the team led by Tejas Thackeray, a wildlife researcher, and son of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.


Baneswar Shiva Dighi

West Bengal

1.65 Acre

It offers refuge to Black Softshell Turtle Nilssonia nigricans listed under Appendix I of CITES and extinct  in the wild category of IUCN.


Sacred Grove at Sural Bhatori Monastery

Himachal Pradesh

07.15 Acre

Uniqueness: A patch of Betula utilis or Bhojpatra trees wilh some intersp~rsed Willow trees Dominant shrubs and herbs: Rosa species, Lonicera species, Sorbus species, Agropyron longearistatum, Festuca species, Primula denticulata, Polygonatum verticillatum, Plantago asiatica, Heracleum candicans, Berberis species, Artemisia species, Bunium Persicum etc. Major faunal species, in the surrounding area: Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Tibetan ·Wolf, Ibex etc


High Altitude Meadow

Himachal Pradesh

108 Acre

Uniqueness: Cotoneaster species, Lonicera species, Sorbus species, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Bromusasper, Fesruca species, Poa species, Primula denticulata, Picrorhiza kurroa, Anemone species. Iris species, Artemisia species. Lonicera spocies, Bunium persicum, Jurinea macrocephala etc. Important Horal species recorded in the area: Picrorhiza kurroa, Dactylorhiza haragirea, Aconitum heterophyllum, Podophyllum hexandrum and Saussurea costus (cultivated). Major faunal species, in the region: Snow Leopard, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Marmot, Ibex and Royle's Pika.


Birch-pine Forest Patch

Himachal Pradesh

151 bighas

Uniqueness: Main trees are Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis) and Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiiana). A few middle aged trees of West Himalayan Spruce (Picea smithiana), Deodar (Cedrus deodara) and Juniper (Juniperus species) are interspersed in the proposed patch. Besides. Willow (Salix species) and Sea Buckthorn (Jlippophae salicifolia) are also present in the site. The proposed site also includes a very good patch of grassy area, which supports a very good population of important medicinal and aromatic plants like Picrorhzza kurroa. Dactylorhiza hacagirea, Aconitum heterophyllum, Podophyllum hexandrum, Aconitum violaceum, Bunium persicum, Hippophae rhamnoides etc.


Baramura waterfall


150 Ha

Uniqueness: The highest natural waterfall in Tripura. Critical habitat for rare wildlife. Rich in floristic diversity. Habitat for many stream water favored fauna




40 Ha

Uniqueness: Cultural and religious significance, Example of Ethno-religious aspects, Sacred trees and stones,Rich forest flora and fauna, Source of natural stream flow has diverse ecosystem services, Site of semi wild, wild and domesticated ornamental plants.


Silachari Caves


100 Ha

Uniqueness: Only natural cave of Tripura. Unique habitat for several threatened cave bat species in Tripura. Rich floristic diversity. Ethno-religious and cultural significance. Critical habitat for rare wildlife. Stream rich in aquatic fauna. Multi- ecosystem services.


Debbari or Chabimura


215 Ha

Uniqueness: River forest ecosystems at Debbari with rich fauna and flora. Unique habitat for threatened plants of Tripura like Dhup tree and cane resources of India. Unique breeding habitat for threatened fishes of Tripura. Unique breeding habitat for threatened wildlife of Tripura.


Betlingshib & its surroundings


350 Ha

Uniqueness: Geographical/ topographical significance: The highest peak of Tripura allows unique habitat ecosystem. Aesthetic value: View of Mizoram and Chittagon hill tracts, other hills of Jampui, orange orchards. Due to change in altitude, topography and climate the vegetation is totally unique compared to the mainland of the state. Biodiversity Significance: Highest floristic diversity in Tripura. Conservation significance: Suitable habitat for several red listed flora and fauna. Medicinal plant conservation area. Cultural significance: Diverse agro-ecosystem model.



Madhya Pradesh

7681.50 Ha

Uniqueness: site is situated on the Maikal mountain range which links the Vindhyachal and Satpura mountain ranges, at about 1067 meters above mean sea level. Site has unique terrain of 1700 ft. deep valley and ecosystem of estimated age of 6 Million year and species of rare flora & fauna including rare Bryophytes and Pteridophytes. Site is spread over 8367 .49hectare area. Amarkantak ecological system is the origin of three major rivers which contributes to water security of India, which need to be conserved.


Hajong Tortoise Lake


526.78 Ha

This lake is a natural habitat of Critically Endangered freshwater ‘Black Softshell turtle’ Nilssonia nigricans and Endangered ‘Indian Peacock Softshell turtle’ Nilssonia hurum besides other major flora and fauna. This site also harbour the threatened species like Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Vulnerable Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Sambar (Rusa unicolor), Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus), Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) etc.


34. Borjuli Wild Rice Site


0.41 Ha

Uniqueness: This BHS has a good population of wild species of rice -Oryza rufipogon. The wetland located at 26.810888 N, 92.623559 E having area of 0.41 ha harbour a viable population of wild rice. This is a unique site due to population richness of this species, but both are vulnerable to climate change and anthropogenic activities. The species (O. rufipogon) possess genes for disease and pest resistance, tolerance to submergence and salinity, thus, important resource in breeding and improvement of rice crop and many of our current varieties derive many genes from this species. Its in-situ conservation for evolutionary process and adaptation to changing climate is important. This will be wealth for posterity not only for India but for the whole world. Oryza rufipogon, the progenitor of present-day cultivated rice, O. sativa, is one of the most studied wild species of rice. It is a perennial plant commonly found in a marsh or aquatic habitats of eastern and southern Asia. O. rufipogon is photosensitive in nature and flowers during short days during the months of November and December. The seeds have a tendency to shatter as soon as they mature. It is tolerant of flooding and acidic soils.


Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site


193.215 He

Uniqueness: This BHS has rich biological and historical significance with the presence of around 250 bird species including 3 flagship Raptor species - Laggar Falcon, Shaheen Falcon, Bonelli's Eagle and wildlife like Indan Pangolin, Python and Slender Loris.


Mahendragiri hill Biodiversity Heritage Site


4250 He

Uniqueness: Mahendragiri hill is situated at an elevation between 700-1501 m above mean sea level in Gajapati district of Odisha. With increase altitude, the hill complex demonstrates several micro climatic conditions like tropical shola, tropical semievergreen, tropical moist-deciduous & tropical dry deciduous. The diversified vegetation with rich floral diversity representing 40% of the reported flora of Odisha. A total of 1,358 species of plants including 1,042 species of angiosperms under 122 families, 60 species of pteridophytes, 104 species of bryophytes, 53 species of lichens and 72 species of macro-fungi and 2 species of gymnosperms occurring in the hill ecosystem.The ancient temples of Kunti, Shima, Arjuna and Yudhisthir at Mahendragiri have been declared as protected monuments under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological sites and Remains Act 1958 by the State Government. These monuments provide a sacred and holy background for receiving about one lakh devotees annually every year to worship the deities of the hill




Q) What do you mean by the term Biodiversity Heritage Site? What are the criteria for their selection? Discuss their significance. (250 words)