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Wetlands – Types of Indian Wetlands

According to WWF-India, wetlands are one of the most threatened of all ecosystems in India. Loss of vegetation, salinization, excessive inundation, water pollution, invasive species, excessive development and road building, have all damaged the country’s wetlands.

Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems and play crucial role in hydrological cycle. Wetlands directly or indirectly help in storm and flood control, water supply, providing food, fibre and raw materials, and in recreational benefits.

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems besides being a rich repository of biodiversity, and are known to play a significant role in carbon sequestration. Wetlands usually occur in depressions or along rivers, lakes, and coastal waters where they are subjected to periodic flooding. Some wetlands also occur on slopes associated with the ground water seeps. Conceptually, wetlands lie between well-drained upland and permanently flooded deep waters of lakes, floodplains of rivers and coastal environs.


Types of Indian Wetlands

The wetlands found in India have been categorized following a 19 class hierarchical system and mapped following standard map projection. The major wetland types found in India include river/stream, inter-tidal mudflat, reservoir, tank, and lake/pond. India has also some of the unique wetlands like mangrove and coral reef.

Wetland classification system



  1. Lake/Pond
  2. Ox-bow Lake / Cut-off meander
  3. High Altitude wetland
  4. Riverine Wetland
  5. Waterlogged
  6. River/Stream


  1. Reservoir/Barrage
  2. Tank/Pond
  3. Waterlogged
  4. Salt Pan



  1. Lagoon
  2. Creek
  3. Sand/Beach
  4. Intertidal Mud-flat
  5. Salt Marsh
  6. Mangrove
  7. Coral


  • Salt Pan
  • Aquaculture Pond

Legal Framework

As of now there is no specific legal framework for wetland conservation, management and their wise use in India.

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