Wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with
water either permanently or seasonally. Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds,
lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. Coastal wetlands include
saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons and even coral reefs. Fish
ponds, rice paddies, and salt pans are human-made wetlands. Wetlands play an
important role in reducing the impact of hurricanes, floods and droughts.
Wetlands act as a natural sponge because they absorb, and store excess rainfall
and thus reduce flooding. Directly or indirectly, they provide almost all of
the world’s consumption of freshwater and more than 40 percent of all species
live and breed in wetlands. Wetlands also provide a livelihood for more than
one billion people, while mitigating floods and protecting coastlines. They are
also a vital source of food, raw materials and genetic resources for medicines.
Wetlands Can Help Fight Climate Change but if these ecosystems are not
protected, they could release huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the
- Over half of the world’s wetlands have
disappeared since 1900. Development and conversion continue to pose major
threats to wetlands, despite their value and importance.
- Wetlands, among the world’s most valuable and
biodiverse ecosystems, are disappearing at alarming speed amid urbanization and
- Animals and plants who call wetlands home are
particularly vulnerable, with a quarter at risk of extinction.
What Can We Do?
- Organize a conference or open day at a Wetland
Centre or Wetland of International Importance.
- Invite wetland experts to explain the role of
wetlands for climate change.
- Hold an exhibition to present and showcase arts
or photographs about wetlands.
- Organize a community walk, bike or run for
- Plan a wetland clean-up day.
- Organize a photo or essay competition.
- Visit a Wetland of International importance in
- Raise public awareness
- Share the outreach materials on your website,
social media, newsletters or bulletin boards etc.
- Translate the information materials provided
into your own language.
- Write a blog or article in your local paper.
- Inform journalists and other media about how
wetlands are important for climate change.
- Organize a classroom discussion on why wetlands
continue to be degraded around the world and what actions are necessary to stop