How can the ‘ecological character’ of the site be described?
Ecological character is the combination of the ecosystem components, processes and services that characterize a wetland at a given point in time. Understanding and documenting the ecological character of your Ramsar Site is essential to maintain and protect its values. It also needs to be documented in the site’s Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS).
Working with Communities to identify key wetland services
The importance of your wetland is determined by various factors, not least the services and benefits that people receive from the wetland ecosystem.
Involving the relevant stakeholders, and particularly local communities, and gaining their input on the description, and subsequent management, of the site is extremely important.
Describing the Ecological Character of the Site
Describing ecological character helps to prioritize features, understand multiple values, identify stakeholders and set management objectives. It also serves as a mechanism to determine whether change is occurring.
Guidance on how to describe the ecological character of a wetland can be found at pages 23-24 of Wetlands Management Planning: A guide for Site Managers (the full document below)
Wetlands Management Planning: a guide for site managers (2008)
Recognising and assessing threats to the site
Threats or threatening activities to your wetlands can vary in scale, magnitude and seriousness and can be actual or perceived.
In identifying the threats, focus on the components, processes, beneﬁts and services that most strongly inﬂuence the ecological character of your wetland.