Downloadable books


A collection of books that were published by the Ramsar Secretariat in hardcopy form in the 1990s and are still available in HTML versions on this Web site.

Towards the Wise Use of Wetlands: Report of the Ramsar Convention Wise Use Project (Ramsar, 1993), edited by T. J. Davis. All the relevant documents on wise use (Guidelines, Additional Guidance, etc.), plus 17 case studies at international, national and local levels. Published in English only.

An extremely valuable source for the overall message and the collection of documents, but in addition some of the case studies constitutethe best material on individual Ramsar sites that you're likely to find anywhere.

Prof. G. V. T. Matthews, The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: its History and Development (Ramsar, 1993), PDF version, re-issued 2013. Published in English only.

The history of the movement throughout the 1960s from which evolved the Ramsar Convention in 1971, and its development since, up to about 1993.   Written by the late Prof. Geoffrey Matthews, one of the Convention's "founding fathers".

Edward B. Barbier, Mike Acreman, and Duncan Knowler, Economic Valuation of Wetlands: a Guide for Policy Makers and Planners (Ramsar, 1997). Published in English, French, and Spanish versions.

Outlines the needs for, and benefits of, economic valuation techniques as applied to wetlands and development projects intended to alter them, and describes a few of these techniques in some detail. A number of case studies, a glossary, and a 10-page bibliography increase the importance of this book for theoreticians and practical managers alike. Also in PDF.

Wetlands, Biodiversity and the Ramsar Convention: the role of the Convention on Wetlands in the Conservation and Wise Use of Biodiversity
(Ramsar, 1996 [1997]). Published in English only.

An excellent collection with introductory chapters by Peter Bacon and Michael Smart and nearly 30 case studies from all the Ramsar regions; the editor, Sandra Hails, has put together a contributors list that reads like a who's who of international wetlands experts.

Cyril de Klemm in collaboration with Isabelle Créteaux. The Legal Development of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (2 February 1971) (Ramsar, 1995). English, French, and Spanish versions in one volume.

A 70-page study of the legal evolution of the Convention text through amendments and interpretive Resolutions by the Conference of the Parties, from the beginning to about 1994, written by the late Cyril de Klemm, a renowned scholar of international environmental law and expert adviser to the Ramsar Convention.

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Wetlands and Water Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. 

This report covers the range of wetlands as defined by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. These include inland wetlands (such as swamps, marshes, lakes, rivers, peatlands, and underground water habitats); coastal and near-shore marine wetlands (such as coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and estuaries); and human-made wetlands (such as rice fields (paddies), dams, reservoirs, and fish ponds).

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The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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