Jiwani Coastal Wetland is a wetland located in Balochistan, Pakistan near the town of Jiwani. The site is one of 19 Ramsar sites in Pakistan and was listed in 2001.
Jiwani Coastal Wetland Location
Jiwani coastal wetland is located on the edge of Gawader Bay along the Dasht River Delta near the town of Jiwani in the Gwadar District of Balochistan. The wetland covers an area of 11,367 acres (46.00 km2) and extends westward toward the Iranian border and is adjacent to Iran’s Gulf of Gowater.
The waters of the Gulf are divided into Gulf of Gawater and Gulf of Gowater. The eastern side of the coast is known as Dran and consists of sandy beaches with rocky cliffs. Towards the Iranian border, it has flat and low swampy geology. Climatic conditions in the area are dry with very low rainfall.
The Dasht River is the main source of fresh water for the mangrove forest and the region, along with seasonal rainwater runoff from the nearby hills.
What is Coastal Wetland
The term coastal wetlands is an area of land that is permanently or seasonally swamped with fresh, brackish, or saline water and have a range of plant species which are specially adapted to the degree of inundation, type of available water, as well as the soil conditions.
Types of Coastal Wetland
- Salt marshes.
- Freshwater marshes.
- Seagrass beds.
- Mangrove swamps.
- Forested swamps.
Importance of Coastal Wetland
Coastal wetlands are a very productive and important habitat for a variety of plants, fish, shellfish, and other wildlife. Wetlands also gives protection against floods, storms and wave damage.
Wetland also provides water quality improvement through filtering of agricultural and industrial waste, and recharge of aquifers.
Flora and fauna at Jiwani Coastal Wetland
The Jiwani coast provides two main ecological habitats; mangrove swamps and sandy beaches. The site near the delta is marshy and swampy and covered by one of the three types of mangroves in Pakistan; Marina Avicennia.
Jiwani is also an important nesting site for the endangered Olive Ridley and Green Sea Turtles. The four turtle nesting beaches are clustered on the eastern side of the coast and are considered to be one of the most important sites for sea turtles in Pakistan. Thousands of migratory birds are sighted in the region each year.
According to the book Avian Diversity of Jiwani Coastal Wetland, Pakistan, 112 species of birds have been recorded, of which 79 were migratory and 33 were resident. Of the 79 migratory species, 54 migrated during the winter, 11 during the summer, 10 were year-round visitors, and 3 species were vagrants.
Protection of Jiwani Coastal Wetland
Fishing is the main source of income for local residents, however plans to grant fishing and offshore drilling rights to foreign firms have raised concerns for conservation authorities.
The local community uses mangrove wood for domestic use, which threatens the mangrove forests. The Balochistan Conservation Strategy to promote sustainable development in Balochistan emphasizes the protection of these coastal wetlands.
In 1999, WWF Pakistan launched conservation actions, the Mangrove Conservation Project and the Turtle Conservation Project, to protect wetlands from adverse effects and threats.
A very significant area of mangrove forests stretching west to the Iranian border, adjacent to Iran’s Govater Bay and the Hur-e-Bahu Ramsar site. The site is a particularly important nesting site for the endangered Olive Ridley and Green turtles, particularly on the four moderately wide and gently sloping sandy beaches in the eastern part of the site.
Fishing is the most important human activity, carried out by clans who immigrated from Iran and the far east of Pakistan, as well as descendants of traders and soldiers from North and East Africa and the Persian Gulf.
The province’s plans to grant fishing concessions to an American industrial fishing firm and offshore drilling rights to a foreign oil company are being viewed with concern by conservation officials.