Unique Ecosystems Worth Saving

Wetlands are naturally saturated areas of land surrounded by aquatic vegetation with incredibly rich and complex ecosystems. They could also be described as coastal forests growing where the land and the ocean meet freshwater sources from inland. Wetlands exist all over the world except for Antarctica, and thanks to their unique watery conditions they host a great variety of self-sustaining plants and life forms. The Hydrophytes, mangroves and other aqua adapted trees form impenetrable maze-like forests in and around the wetlands that protect the delicate and diverse ecosystem within.

Dried Wetland

Global Wetlands at Risk

Historically wetlands have been considered as useless wastelands where pests breed and dangers lurk. Little did we know – wetlands are actually important ecosystems that play a vital role in preventing floods, controlling erosion and providing a habitat for fish during their breeding cycles. Decades of ignorance in this area have led to acute wetland devastation, it is estimated that since 1900 between 64-71% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Many of those remaining suffer from continued degradation due to a combination of human activity, and natural environmental causes.

Our wetlands are being destroyed, drained, invaded and polluted. Some are being flooded and others are suffering from droughts. In the wake of all this destruction, the biological diversity they host and protect is being compromised and creatures that rely on these areas for sustenance and habitat are slowly eradicated. Wetlands are not isolated and independent environments, they are affected by global environmental issues and their depletion is affecting the health of other biospheres and the welfare of humans and wildlife everywhere.

Why the Wetlands are in Danger

It seems wetlands are being attacked from all directions, their delicate biological balance is being disturbed both by man and by nature, for environmental, agricultural, industrial and commercial reasons.

In addition to pollution, which is jeopardizing freshwater sources and biodiversity, main threats include:

Wetland Drainage

Vast numbers of wetlands have simply been drained to serve agricultural, commercial and industrial needs. While wetland drainage may make sense from certain perspectives and in the short term, it has dire implications for a variety of plants and animals and disrupts the worlds regular supply of freshwater. As we have already learned over the years, species dying off and an interrupted aquatic balance enhance climate change which in turn is also taking its toll, causing floods in some areas and drought in others – an unsettling cycle of environmental damage.

Dams

There are more than 57,000 large dams worldwide, built to supply water, irrigate crops, control flooding and provide hydroelectric power. While they are often essential for basic survival, when not developed sustainable they disturb the natural flow of water, thus affecting wetlands and changing their water composition.

Invasive Species

These include plants and animals that are introduced into the wetland ecosystem and aggressively interrupt the biological balance, overtaking native species, upsetting local aquatic flora and fauna and damaging the natural biodiversity.

We believe it is vital that these issues are addressed, not only to save our wetlands but to protect our planet and ourselves. The first step is raising awareness to the importance of these biological environments and the damage we are causing them. The next step is working to change this reality.

Wetland Restoration Projects

The Sava River Basin: Mediating Priorities

The Sava River is inarguably one of the most important waterways in Europe. The second largest tributary of the Danube River, the Sava benefits more than eight million people who live in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Herzegovna and Albania. The...

Jiangsu Yancheng Wetlands Protection Project

Saving the Yancheng Coastal Wetlands When we think of the People’s Republic of China, many images come to mind, but probably not wetlands. However, the northern coast of China is home to a large expanse of wetlands. Facing the Yellow Sea and near to Nanjing and...

Restoring the Mekong Delta Wetlands

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Wetlands Over 10 million acres of wetlands are distributed throughout Vietnam. These areas consist of several permanent and temporary billabongs, swamps, marshes, lakes, mudflats, salt marshes, fens, mangroves, coral reefs peat bogs and bodies...

Saving the Orange River Mouth Wetlands

Orange River Mouth Wetlands Restoration Project The Orange River mouth wetlands area is situated on the Atlantic coast of South Africa at the mouth of the largest river in South Africa. It is located in an arid region that lies on the border between South Africa and...

Upper Sand River Wetlands Rehabilitation

Upper Sand River Wetlands – Tackling Sustainability Issues Together The Sand River Wetlands are located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa along the upper part of one of the shallowest and shortest rivers in the country. The name of the river was derived...

The Pantanal Wetlands

The Pantanal Wetlands – Teeming With Wildlife The Pantanal is an enormous seasonal floodplain known as the largest all wetland areas in the world. The name Pantanal comes from the Portuguese word pântano which can be translated to marsh, quagmire, bog, swamp, or...