Wetlands – hotspots of biodiversity
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What is it about?
Many wetlands are rich in biodiversity, and many species of plants and animals are wetland-dependent – they cannot survive without wetlands. Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse wetlands, often called the ‘rainforests of the sea’. Although freshwater wetlands cover far less area than the oceans, they support 30% of all known fish species. It is this biodiversity that supports the many ecosystem services provided by wetlands. Yet wetland species are under threat, often more so than their terrestrial counterparts, through habitat change (such as drainage and conversion) and pollution as well as overexploitation, invasive alien species, and climate change.
What the Convention does
Ramsar Sites are designated according to nine criteria – eight of these are biodiversity criteria, emphasizing the importance the Convention places on sustaining this diversity by designating and restoring wetlands. The Convention also provides the tools making the link between wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services such as fish, fruits, wood, medicines, etc., upon which people depend.
What needs to be done next?
Appropriate land use planning to minimise wetland loss and degradation, accelerated wetland restoration, and increased Ramsar Site designation and management will all help to secure wetland biodiversity for the future.
What drives people to conserve biodiversity? Is it the scary bad news about biodiversity loss or is it the ‘awe and wonder’ message about species and ecosystems? This short publication on Branding Biodiversity by Futerra Sustainable Communications takes a look at this and helps focus our thoughts on how we can best communicate about biodiversity conservation. http://www.futerra.co.uk/downloads/Branding_Biodiversity.pdf
Anada Tiéga, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands wrote an article on “Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: 40 years of biodiversity conservation and wise use” in Biodiversity Policy and Practice. Click here to read the full article:
Tools to expand on the message
- This downloadable PowerPoint presentation gives you additional information on the issue of wetlands and biodiversity. Click here to download
- Any wetland which meets at least one of the Criteria for identifying Wetlands of International Importance and has been designated by the appropriate national authority can be added to the Ramsar List. What are these nine criteria? Read more