Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site

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    In Context

    • Recently, the Tamil Nadu Government issued a notification declaring Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage site the first biodiversity heritage site in the State.

    More about the Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage site

    • About:
      • The state government notified 193.215 hectares of area spread across Arittapatti and Meenakshipuram villages in Madurai district as ‘Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site’. 
        • The declaration was made under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002
    • First in the state:
      • This is the first Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS) notified in Tamil Nadu.
    • Wildlife:
      • Arittapatti village, known for its ecological and historical significance, houses around 250 species of birds including three flagship raptor species – 
        • Laggar Falcon , Shaheen Falcon, and Bonelli’s Eagle—and wildlife such as Indian pangolin, python, and slender loris.  
      • It is also home to wildlife such as the Indian Pangolin, Slender Loris and pythons.
    • Chain of seven hillocks:
      • The village Arittapatti consists of a chain of seven barren granite hillocks. The distinctive landscape of rocky hills acts as a watershed and supports 72 lakes, 200 natural spring pools, and three check dams. 
        • The Anaikondan tank, built during the reign of Pandiyan kings in the 16th century is one among them.
    • Other structures:
      • The site also features various megalithic structures, Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, Jain Beds, and 2,200-year-old rock-cut temples, lending it historical value.

    Biodiversity Heritage Sites

    • About:
      • Biodiversity heritage sites are well-defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems with high diversity of wild and domesticated species, presence of rare and threatened species, and keystone species. 
    • Statute:
      • The significance and aims of BHS are outlined in Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act of 2002. 
      • As per provision under Section 37(1) of ‘Biological Diversity Act, 2002’: The State Government may, from time to time in consultation with the local bodies, notify in the Official Gazette, areas of biodiversity importance as under this Act.
    • First BHS of India:
      • Nallur Tamarind Grove in Bengaluru, Karnataka was the first Biodiversity Heritage Site of India, declared in 2007.
    • Significance:
      • 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.

    Source: TH