Info pack available on Wetland Values and Functions

19/12/2000

Wetland Values And Functions

values-front.jpg (29473 bytes)As part of the Ramsar Convention’s contribution to World Wetlands Day 2001, the Bureau has prepared an information pack, in English, French, and Spanish versions, consisting of eleven fact sheets on the values and functions of wetlands. Individual single-page front-and-back two-color fact sheets cover the basic ideas, and wherever possible assign monetary values, in order to help demonstrate the importance of wetlands in the most fundamental economic and cost-benefit terms.

Topics covered include:

Flood Control
Groundwater Replenishment
Shoreline Stabilisation & Storm Protection
Sediment & Nutrient Retention and Export
Climate Change Mitigation
Water Purification
Reservoirs of Biodiversity
Wetland Products
Recreation/ Tourism
Cultural Value

The hardcopy Wetland Values and Functions info pack is available now from the Ramsar Bureau (higgins@ramsar.org) and a reprint edition will be posted to this Web site in the coming days. [Note: a copy of this info pack has already been sent by post to all subscribers to the Ramsar Newsletter, in the appropriate language version.]


From the introductory text:values-sample.jpg (49994 bytes)

Wetland ecosystems are part of our natural wealth. A recent assessment of the dollar value of our natural ecosystems estimated them at US$ 33 trillion.

The study estimated the global value of wetland ecosystems at an amazing US$ 14.9 trillion, 45% of the total.

It is no accident that river valleys and their floodplains have been the focus of human civilisations for over 6,000 years – and that many other wetland systems have been equally critical to the development and survival of human communities. This simply reflects the key role that water and wetlands have played throughout human life. Our advancing technological skills may seem to have supplanted the role of Nature, but recent environmental catastrophes – floods, landslides, storms, many with their roots in unsustainable land use practices – suggest otherwise. The reality is that we still depend on our natural ecosystems to sustain us.

The multiple roles of wetland ecosystems and their value to humanity have been increasingly understood and documented in recent years. This has led to massive expenditures to restore lost or degraded hydrological and biological functions of wetlands. But it’s not enough – the race is on to improve practices on a significant global scale as the world's leaders try to cope with the accelerating water crisis and the effects of climate change. And this at a time when the world’s population is set to increase by 70 million every year for the next 20 years.

Global freshwater consumption rose sixfold between 1900 and 1995 – more than double the rate of population growth. One third of the world’s population today lives in countries already experiencing moderate to high water stress. By 2025, two out of every three people on Earth may well face life in water stressed conditions.

The ability of wetlands to adapt to changing conditions, and to accelerating rates of change, will be crucial to communities and wildlife everywhere as the full impact of climate change on our ecosystem lifelines is felt. Small wonder that there is worldwide focus on wetlands and their services to us.

values-back.jpg (25927 bytes)

As shown on the back cover of the Info Pack, production was funded by the Ramsar "Evian Project" sponsored by the Danone Group

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