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 atmosphere
- 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 agriculture shifts.
- 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 Center 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 wetlands.
- Plan a wetland clean-up day.
- Organize a photo or essay competition.
- Visit a Wetland of International importance in your country.
- 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 this loss.