Essay on Aravalli Biodiversity Park  – The first OECM Site

On World Wetlands Day, February 2, the Aravalli Biodiversity Park was named the first OECM (Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures) site. The OECM tag is provided by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

According to the IUCN, the OECM sites are not protected, despite their richness. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assigns the OECM tag to sites that are not protected yet are home to a diverse range of species. On the international map, the tag indicates that the location is a biodiversity hotspot. The Aravalli Hills were the first OECM site in the country. The National Biodiversity Authority advocated designating Aravallis as the OECM.

Illegal mining has resulted in the annihilation of a quarter of the Aravallis. According to CAG, there have been over 4,00000 cases of illicit mining. Since the 1960s, 31 hills have disappeared. The OECM regions were created during the 2018 Convention on Biological Diversity. In layman’s terms, the OECM is not a protected area. It is governed to achieve positive outcomes. The goals are to maintain biodiversity while emphasising cultural, economical, and spiritual values.

There are three sorts of technical definitions. Conservation can be classified into three types: auxiliary conservation, secondary conservation, and primary conservation. Auxiliary conservation helps to conserve in-situ. This includes conserved freshwater areas and war graves. Secondary conservation is achieved through active discussion. Secondary conservation is the creation of conservation corridors. The phrase “primary conservation” refers to lands that the government refuses to designate as protected areas. Indigenous peoples, religious organisations, or private landowners will wield authority.

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The park sprawls across 390 acres. It has a semi-arid climate. On the island, there are around 43,000 bushes, 101,000 trees, and 300 native plant species.

The park was formerly used as a mining site. Environmentalists, biologists, ecologists, and residents worked valiantly to make it a city forest. The Aravallis are known as the green lungs of Delhi. Among the creatures they guard are leopards, foxes, sambhars, and jackals.

The Aravallis provides 7.07% of Delhi’s oxygen. The Aravallis mountains operate as a barrier between the desert in the west and the rich region in the east. The Aravallis prevent monsoon clouds, which bring rain, from reaching Nainital and Shimla. The hill provides groundwater recharge for the surrounding area.

What is OECM?

OECM is a designation for a location that has achieved effective in-situ biodiversity conservation outside of protected areas such as forests. In ten years, the park, which was formerly an abandoned mine hole, was turned into a lush green forest patch. It now contains over 400 indigenous plant species.

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