The Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site is India's 35th and Tamil Nadu's first biodiversity heritage site. In accordance with section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act of 2002, the Tamil Nadu government published a notification designating Arittapatti and Meenakshipuram villages in the Madurai district as the state's first biodiversity heritage site. The Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage site will cover 139.63 ha in Arittapatti village (Melur block) & 53.8 ha in Meenakshipuram village (Madurai East taluk).
Around 250 different bird species may be seen on the hillocks in the village of Arittapatti, including three flagship raptor species: the Laggar Falcon (Falco jugger), Shaheen Falcon (Falco peregrine), and Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata).
Wildlife including the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Slender Loris (Loris spp) & Python (Python molurus) is also present, in addition to a number of other birds and animal species that may be seen in the area. The location has historical significance due to the presence of numerous megalithic structures, Jain Beds, Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, and 2200-year-old rock-cut temples.
One of the lakes, Anaikodan, is thought to have been constructed in the 16th century, under the rule of the Pandiyas. According to a reading of the urns found in the Kottaimedu region, the settlement is credited with having been inhabited for more than 2,000 years.
What are Biodiversity Heritage Sites?
The term "biodiversity heritage site" refers to biological regions with distinctive and ecologically vulnerable ecosystems that support rare and endangered species. These kinds of regions are frequently home to significant species that are not just endemic or endangered but also can be keystone species, flagship species, or umbrella species.
What is Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, of 2002?
The state governments are given the authority to inform BHS after consulting with the "local bodies" under this section. According to Section 37, subsection 2, the state government may create regulations for the management & preservation of the BHS after consulting with the federal government. The state government is given the authority to develop plans under Section 3 for the restitution or rehabilitation of any person or community that suffered economic harm as a result of the BHS's notification.
India now has 19 sites that are considered to have significant contributions to biodiversity. In India, the Himalayan, Indo-Burma, Sunderland, & Western Ghats are the four biodiversity hotspots.