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.
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:
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.
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.
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 Wasur National Park – The Least Disturbed Wetlands in Indonesia The wetlands situated within the Wasur National Park are the least disturbed in Indonesia. Located in the Papua province, the park is a vast open and incredibly bio-diverse ecosystem. It is so...
Mutual Protection – The Story of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest The Sundarbans is one of the biggest mangrove forests in the world. It is located in the Bay of Bengal on the delta of the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers, and borders the Sundarbans World...
The Dedicated Friends of the Ballona Wetlands The Ballona Wetlands is one of the only remaining wetland areas in the Los Angeles basin. It is located in Southern California, east of Playa del Rey and south of Marina del Rey. Because of the importance of wetlands to...
Manila Bay – Home to Animals and Plants Manila Bay is a natural harbor in the Philippines. It is located at the capital of the Philippines where it serves as a gateway between the country and its neighbors. The bay is home to nearly 5,000 hectares of wetlands which...
Restoring the Marco Island Mangrove Forest In an era in which we are becoming increasingly ecologically minded, many steps are taken before commencing large construction projects that could affect the natural habitat of earth’s creatures. This was not the case in 1938...