GUIDE is engaged in investigating both coastal and inland wetlands ever since its establishment. Broad areas covering biodiversity, landuse changes, environmental status and monitoring, socio-economics, restoration and resource utilization have been studied in different wetlands Gujarat in general and Kachchh region at large. Gujarat state has one of the largest areas under wetlands in the country covering 3,47,495 km2, which accounts for about 17.56% of geographical area of the state. The total wetland area in the state is 23.14% of the total wetland of the country. The major wetland types include intertidal mud flat (2260365 ha), river/stream (275877 ha), reservoir/barrage (248979 ha), creek (149898 ha) and salt marsh (144268 ha). The coastal wetlands dominate in the state. Some of the unique wetlands like corals and mangrove are found in Gujarat state.
Further, these wetlands are classified into different sub-types such as Natural lakes, waterlogged areas, Reservoirs, Village Tanks and Ponds, Marshlands, Mangroves, Coral reefs, Mudflats, Saltpans and others. In Gujarat, the coastal and inland wetlands cover 92.3% and 7.7% of the total wetland area, respectively highlighting the importance of this ecosystem. Ever increasing industrial activities in close vicinity of this ecosystem signifies its conservation importance calling for exhaustive and sustained study. The wetlands in the state have special international significance. The western most part of the state is recognized as the gateway of migratory waterfowl that come into the sub-continent. The wetlands of the state are major wintering areas for cranes, pelicans, terns, ducks, and shore birds (mainly waders). These birds are highly dependent on the village tanks and storage reservoirs.
Great Rann of Kachchh, Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kachchh, Nalsarovar, Nani Kakrad (Navsari), Pariej, Thol Bird Sanctuary and Wadhwana are the eight wetlands of national importance identified by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for implementing National Wetland Conservation Programme. According to the 2003 waterfowl census, about 8.1 lakh birds of 138 species were recorded in these wetlands. The estimation for the year 2004 showed an increase of 1.5 million birds belonging to 154 species, highlighting the conservation significance of the wetlands of the State.