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This post is a part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered the all Important Environmental initiatives in news. This post covers the current affairs of September, October 2021 and April 2022 months.
To Read Other Current Affairs Compilations for Prelims 2022– Click here
Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary
The Odisha Government has decided to relocate around 420 families from four zero-connectivity villages in Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary. The relocation is aimed at reducing man-animal conflict and providing better living conditions to the displaced families.
About Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary
Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary is located in Odisha. A third of the sanctuary’s area is bound by the Hirakud Dam, thus forming a mini catchment for the reservoir.
The sanctuary is also an important biogeographic zone from both the ecological and environmental points of view.
Significance: The sanctuary finds a special mention because of noted freedom fighter Veer SurendraSai. During his rebellion against the British Veer SurendraSai made his base at ‘Barapathara” located within the sanctuary.
Vegetation: The sanctuary comprises dry deciduous forests.
Fauna: The sanctuary is known for sightings of animals particularly four-horned antelope, leopards, elephants, gaur, wild boar, Sambar, deer among others.
The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) has expressed concern over the massive diversion of fresh water from the Brahmani river basin which could pose a grave threat to the Bhitarkanika mangroves in Odisha.
About Bhitarkanika Mangroves
Bhitarkanika Mangroves is a mangrove wetland in Odisha. It covers an area of 650 km in the Brahmani and Baitarani river deltas.
Ramsar Site: It was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2002.
Fauna: It is home to 62 mangrove species. Besides, 1,600 saltwater crocodiles crawl on the mudflats of the Bhitarkanika mangrove forest.
Significance: Mangroves grow in brackish water. Proportionate freshwater flow from the Brahmani river basin and the Kharasrota river keep the salinity level of the water along the shore down. Hence, the brackish water becomes ideal for the mangroves to grow and stay healthy.
Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) – World’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve
UNESCO designated Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) as the world’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve.
The biosphere reserve covers 700 kilometres of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. The total area of the reserve — a million hectares — in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’, makes it the largest riverine protected area on the continent.
Reason for designating MDD a biosphere reserve
It will advance the protection and revitalisation of the Mura-Drava-Danube area and boost sustainable business practices. It will also enhance cross-border cooperation.
The aim is to revitalize 25,000 km of rivers and protect 30 per cent of the European Union’s land area by 2030.
Significance of MDD
Firstly, the reserve is home to floodplain forests, gravel and sand banks, river islands, oxbows and meadows.
Secondly, it is home to continental Europe’s highest density of breeding white-tailed eagle, as well as endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters, beavers and sturgeons.
Thirdly, it is also an important annual resting and feeding place for more than 250,000 migratory birds, according to WWF.
Fourthly, the reserve is inhabited by almost 900,000 people too.
The Odisha Government is planning to bring the Barbara forest on the ecotourism map.
Note: Ecotourism is defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.
About the Barbara Forest
Barbara forest is located near Chilika lake in coastal Odisha.
It is known as Asia’s largest Teak and Sal forest.
Districts: The forest touches three districts Khordha, Nayagarh and Ganjam of Odisha.
Named After: The forest is named after a British forest officer’s wife, who was killed in a tiger attack in the area 100-odd years ago.
Vegetation: Barbara forests has patches of tropical semi-evergreen forests that contain many uncommon species of plants, ferns, and herbs which are rare in other forests of Odisha.
Significance: It is said to be the only forest in India that is guarded by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) for protecting natural resources.