Wetlands are an essential part of our ecosystem: they act as natural water purifiers, protect against floods and droughts, provide a habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, and maintain human livelihoods and culture.
Increasingly, wetlands around the world are being impacted by human activities such as land use change, road, and settlement construction, water management, drainage, surface sealing, pollution, or industrial development.
Why can’t we live without wetlands?
- Wetlands and their valuable water resources make life on Earth possible in the first place.
- Wetlands are vital for the preservation of biodiversity and the species that live there.
- They support the regulation of climate and the water cycle.
- They also contribute to the preservation of soil quality.
- They help to control floods and droughts.
- Wetlands are important sources of clean drinking water and food.
- They contribute to the preservation of coasts and coastal areas.
- They also play an important role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystems of our planet.
“Without wetlands and their wealth of water, life on our planet would not be possible. Clean water is a valuable and essential good for humans and wildlife, which must be preserved and protected.”
What are the important measures to restore wetlands?
- Make natural watercourses and flows that have been disrupted accessible again.
- Reforestation of wetlands.
- Creation of wetlands in artificial water reservoirs.
- Removal of obstacles such as dikes and drainage systems that interfere with the natural water dynamics.
- Creation of retention basins and other measures to regulate the water balance.
- Planting of typical wetland plants and planting areas with natural plants.
- Incorporation of natural processes such as sedimentation and erosion into the restoration planning.
- Involvement of local communities in protection and restoration measures.
- Monitoring of restoration measures to evaluate and adjust the success rate.
What types of wetlands exist?
There are numerous and various types of wetlands around the world, some examples include:
- Swamps, bogs, and moorlands
- Rivers and streams
- Lakes and ponds or pools
- Coastal areas, lagoons, and also mangroves
- Wet meadows and wet grasslands
- Wet forests, such as swamp areas
- Alpine areas, such as glacier and glacial lakes
- Oases or salt pans
- Artificial water reservoirs, such as water storage and dams
- Irrigation areas, such as irrigation canals and drainage ditches
Wetlands richness and biodiversity
- Wetlands are one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats.
- They provide homes for many species and provide migratory birds places to rest and refuel before moving on.
- 40% of the world’s plants and animals depend on wetlands*.
- Every year 200 new species are discovered in freshwater wetlands*.
- Coastal wetlands like mangroves are among the most biologically diverse places on earth*.
Learn more about the richness and biodiversity of wetlands or “Why wetlands are amazing” on this website*: → https://www.wwt.org.uk/our-work/why-wetlands
It’s time for wetland restoration
- More than 35% of natural wetlands have been lost in the last 50 years*.
- It is essential to take action to restore these valuable ecosystems, in order to preserve biodiversity and quality of life. Restoration of wetlands is this year’s motto of World Wetlands Day 2023, which is celebrated on 2 February.
- Full restoration of a natural wetland takes time, but with it, many harmful effects of degradation can be reversed.
Additional information about wetland restoration can be found on the World Wetlands Day 2023 website*: → https://www.worldwetlandsday.org
Act now together
Trusted.one says: It is essential that we come together and take action globally to prevent the destruction of wetlands and protect and restore existing wetlands. This requires cooperation from governments, local communities, and society as a whole, as well as incorporating wetland conservation and restoration measures into development and climate change plans.
“The concept of sustainable business and sustainability reporting is gaining more and more attention worldwide. It is moving from voluntary reporting to being mandatory.”
Measuring progress in the sustainability of wetlands
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has developed a set of core metrics to measure progress on sustainable development, which are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WEF core metrics that are related to the GRI reporting disclosure requirements for wetlands include:
- Biodiversity protection: measures the area of land and sea protected for biodiversity conservation purposes as a percentage of total land and sea area.
- Biodiversity loss: measures the rate of loss of biodiversity, including loss of natural habitats, species extinction, and decline in population sizes.
- Water stress: measures the ratio of water withdrawals to available renewable water resources.
- Land degradation: measures the extent of land degradation, including soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, and desertification.
- Carbon intensity of energy: measures the number of CO2 emissions per unit of energy production.
Blog article was written by: Sylke Bauerschmidt
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