About Us  :  Online Enquiry


Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)

Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)

Why in news?

  • Following the discovery of a rare freshwater fish species there, the Maharashtra government has declared an area at Amboli in Western ghats as a biodiversity heritage site.
  • the new freshwater fish species is named Schistura Hiranyakeshi, was discovered near Amboli in Sawantwadi tehsil of Sindhudurg district.
  • The notification to convert the locality into a protected area was issued on Wednesday under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • The rare freshwater fish was spotted for the first time in the Western Ghats in a pond at the Mahadev Temple
  • Following this, the 2.11 hector area has been declared as ‘Shistura Hiranyakeshi Biological Heritage Site’, making it the 5th area in Maharashtra. The heritage site which has a temple of goddess Parvati is the point from where the river Hiranyakeshi originates.

Other Sites In Maharashtra

  • The Glory Of Allapalli In Gadchiroli District
  • Landor Khori Park In Jalgaon
  • Ganesh Khind In Pune
  • Myristica Swamp Vegetation In Sindhudurg District

What is Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)?

  • The ‘Biodiversity Heritage Sites’ (BHS) are unique ecosystems having rich biodiversity comprising 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.
  • Under Section-37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 the State Government in consultation with local bodies may notify areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites(BHS).

Features for Selection of BHS (Criteria)

  • Areas that contain significant domesticated biodiversity component and/or representative agro-ecosystems with ongoing agricultural practices that sustain this diversity.
  • Areas that contain a mosaic of natural, semi-natural, and man made habitats, which together contain a significant diversity of life forms.
  • Areas that are maintained as preservation plots by the research wing of Forest department.
  • Areas that are significant from a biodiversity point of view as also are important cultural spaces such as sacred groves/trees and sites, or other large community conserved areas.
  • All kinds of legal land uses whether government, community or private land could be considered under the above categories.
  • Areas including very small ones that offer refuge or corridors for threatened and endemic fauna and flora, such as community conserved areas or urban greens and wetlands.
  • As far as possible those sites may be considered which are not covered under Protected Area network under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 as amended.
  • Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas.
  • Areas that provide habitats, aquatic or terrestrial, for seasonal migrant species for feeding and breeding.

Significance and objectives of Biodiversity Heritage sites

  • Biodiversity is closely linked to ecological security and therefore, human welfare. To strengthen the biodiversity conservation in traditionally managed areas and to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity in intensively managed areas, such areas need special attention.
  • Such areas also often represent a positive interface between nature, culture, society, and technologies, such that both conservation and livelinood security are or can be achieved, and positive links between wild and domesticated biodiversity are enhanced.
  • To have a BHS in or around a community should be a matter of pride and honour to such community and this virtuous act of community may work as an example to the entire nation apart from ensuring availability of the resources to their own future generation. The areas like existing sacred grooves in general and those existing in Western Ghats in particular can be straight away be declared and notified as BHS.
  • It is necessary to instill and nurture conservation ethics in all sections of the society. The creation of BHS will ensure bringing home these values in the society and thereby put an end to over-exploitation of natural resources and avoid environmental degradation.
  • The creation of BHS may not put any restriction on the prevailing practices and usages of the local communities, other than those voluntarily decided by them. The purpose is to enhance the quality of life of the local communities through this conservation measure.

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

  • The act was enacted in 2002, it aims at the conservation of biological resources, managing its sustainable use and enabling fair and equitable sharing benefits arising out of the use and knowledge of biological resources with the local communities.
  • The Act prohibits the following activities without the prior approval from the National Biodiversity Authority:
    • Any person or organisation (either based in India or not) obtaining any biological resource occurring in India for its research or commercial utilisation.
    • The transfer of the results of any research relating to any biological resources occurring in, or obtained from, India.
    • The claim of any intellectual property rights on any invention based on the research made on the biological resources obtained from India.
  • The act envisaged a three-tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:
    • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
    • The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
    • The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)

The National Biodiversity Authority

  • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 by the Central Government to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
  • It is a Statutory body that performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions for the Government of India on the issue of Conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.
  • The NBA has its Headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)

  • The SBBs are established by the State Governments in accordance with Section 22 of the Act.
  • Structure: The State Biodiversity Board consists of the following members:
  • A Chairperson
  • Not more than five ex officio members to represent the concerned Departments of the State Government
  • Not more than five members from amongst experts in matters relating to conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of biological resources and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.
  • All the members of the SBB are appointed by the respective State Governments.

Biodiversity Heritage Sites In India

  • Nallur Tamarind Grove in Devanahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka
  • Glory of Allapalli in Gadhchiroli, Maharashtra
  • Tonglu Biodiversity Heritage Site under the Darjeeling Forest Division, West Bengal
  • Dhotrey Biodiversity Heritage Site under the Darjeeling Forest Division, West Bengal
  • Dailong Village in Tamenglong, Manipur
  • Ameenpur Lake in Sangareddy, Telangana
  • Majuli in Assam
  • Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  • Chilkigarh Kanak Durga in Jhargram, West Bengal
  • Ambaraguda in Shimoga, Karnataka
  • University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus in Bengaluru, Karnataka
  • Hogrekan in Chikmagalur, Karnataka
  • Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)


Mussoorie Times

Send this to a friend