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Bio-Diversity Heritage Site


The Gupteswar Forest in Odisha was recently decalared as Bio-Diversity Heritage site.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. About Gupteswar Forest
  3. About Biodiversity heritage site


  • The State Government of Odisha has recently declared the pristine Gupteswar Forest, in Odisha’s Koraput district as a Biodiversity heritage site.
    • This is the fourth Biodiversity-Heritage Site ( BHS) of the state.
  • Significance:
    • The designation of Gupteswar as BHS will boost the cultural attachment of people with this forest will also lead to the conservation of its precious biodiversity.  
    • Consequently, the state government has asked the Odisha Biodiversity Board to prepare a long-term plan for intensive conservation and development of these sites through direct participation of the local communities.
    • This forest in the long run would add to the livelihood of the people through eco-tourism and minor forest produce.

About Gupteswar Forest:

  • The forest is spread over 350 hectares of demarcated area.
  • Along with its sacred grooves traditionally worshipped by the local community, the site is bestowed with a wide range of flora and fauna.
  • As per the Biodiversity inventory and survey conducted by the Odisha Biodiversity Board, the site shows the presence of various types of mammals, birds, amphibian, reptiles, pices, butterflies, moths and many more.
  • The site also has a rich floral diversity embracing many varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers and so on.

About Biodiversity heritage site

  • BHS are areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal, inland and marine waters – having a rich biodiversity.
  • The biodiversity comprises any one or more of the components like,
    • Species richness – Wild and domesticated species or intra-specific categories,
    • High endemism,
    • Presence of rare, endemic and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance,
    • Presence of wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or landraces or their varieties,
    • Past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and having cultural or aesthetic values.
    • Area with significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values; important for the maintenance of cultural diversity

As per Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002,

  • State Governments can notify in the official gazette, in consultation with ‘local bodies’, areas of biodiversity importance as BHS.
  • State Government in consultation with the Central Government may frame rules for the management and conservation of BHS.
  • State Governments can frame schemes for compensating or rehabilitating anyone economically affected by such notification.

State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) may invite suggestions for the declaration of BHSs, through the Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) and other relevant community institutions.

-Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

February 2024