Gupteswar Forest as Biodiversity Heritage Site

Facts for Prelims

Gupteswar Forest as Biodiversity Heritage Site

News: The pristine Gupteswar Forest, adjacent to Gupteswar Shiva temple in Odisha’s Koraput district has been
declared as the 4th Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS) of the state.

What is a Biodiversity Heritage Site?

• Biodiversity Heritage sites (BHS) are well-defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems with a high diversity of wild and domesticated species, the presence of rare and threatened species, and keystone species.

Legal Provision:
• As per provision under Section 37(1) of ‘The Biological Diversity Act, 2002’ State Governments are empowered to notify in the official gazette, in consultation with ‘local bodies’, areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.

• 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 conservation measures.

First BHS of India:
• Nallur Tamarind Grove in Bengaluru, Karnataka was the first Biodiversity Heritage Site of India, declared in 2007.
• According to the National Biodiversity Authority, India has a total of 45 Biodiversity Heritage Sites as of February 2024. 

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