Deepor Beel is a freshwater lake located in the Kamrup Metropolitan district of Assam, India. It is a permanent lake that was once a channel of the Brahmaputra River, and is now considered a wetland under the Ramsar Convention. The convention has listed the lake as a site of importance for “conservation and sustainable use” in November 2002.
- Deepor Beel is known for its ecological significance, and is considered one of the largest wetlands in the Brahmaputra valley of Lower Assam. It is categorised as a representative of the wetland type under the Burma monsoon forest biogeographic region.
- The wetland provides natural resources for the livelihood of 14 indigenous villages located in its precincts, with freshwater fish being a vital protein source and source of income for these communities.
Threats to Deepor Beel
- Despite its ecological significance, Deepor Beel is facing a number of conservation threats. The construction of railway lines through the wetland has caused conflicts between human activities and the welfare of wild elephants that depend on the wetland for food and water. In the past two decades, at least 15 wild elephants have been hit by passing trains while crossing the railway track.
- In addition to the railway lines, fishing activities in the wetland have also caused conflicts with migratory birds that use the wetland as a staging site for depositing fats by preying on fish species. Birdlife International has declared Deepor Beel as an Important Bird Area (IBA) site, and the unregulated and increasing fishing activities have come into conflict with the activities of these birds.
- Furthermore, the wetland is facing threats from pollution, which has had a negative impact on the water quality and the health of the aquatic ecosystem. This has led to a decline in the population of fish and other aquatic species, which in turn has affected the livelihoods of local communities that depend on the wetland for their livelihood.
Deepor Beel is an ecologically significant freshwater lake that plays an important role in the lives of local communities and wildlife. However, despite its importance, it is facing a number of conservation threats. These include the construction of railway lines through the wetland, the unregulated and increasing fishing activities and pollution, which are all having a negative impact on the wetland’s ecosystem. It is important to address these threats in order to conserve this unique biodiversity site and preserve the livelihoods of local communities.
Written by IAS POINT