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Location India, Jammu & Kashmir
Central coordinates 78o 45.00' East  33o 35.05' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 1,500 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description The Chushul Marshes lie within Changthan, east and west of Chushul village near the Chinese border. The habitats consist of shallow ponds, marshes, borax plains and wet meadows in a broad sandy valley. Springs and streams flowing down into the Valley from the Ladakh range create the ponds and marshes. Some streams terminate on the sandy plains in stagnant pools which become more saline as they evaporate. Others carry enough water to flow into the Pangong Tso. Most of the ponds and marshes remain frozen from November to March. The principal vegetation consists of species of Hydrilla, Myriophyllum in the ponds and Carex, other sedges and grasses in the marshes. The surrounding steppe is dominated by Caragana.

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: The wetland is an important breeding area for several species of waterfowl, such as the Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus, Common Redshank Tringa totanus and Common Tern Sterna hirundo. Three pairs of Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis inhabit the Chushul marshes, of which two pairs are consistently breeding at Tsigul Tso and Tso Nyak (Hussain and Pandav 2001; Rauf Zargar pers. comm. 2003). Some pairs of Barheaded Geese Anser indicus also breed here. The Tibetan Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes tibetanus, and Tibetan Partridge Perdix hodgsoniae representing Biome-5 occur on the surrounding dry plains.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The other important fauna of the site include Tibetan Wild Ass Equus kiang. Tibetan Argali Ovis ammon, Blue Sheep or Bharal Pseudois nayaur and Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata (Rauf Zargar pers. comm. 2003).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2003 high not assessed not assessed
unset
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - run-off happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Urban settlements

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Rauf Zargar, Bivash Pandav and S. A. Hussain.

References 

Hussain, S. A. and Pandav, B (2001) Bench mark ecological status of wetlands of Ladakh, Study report – 2001. Wildlife Insitute of India, Dehra Dun. India, Pp. 1-13.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chushul marshes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/07/2015

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