World Wetlands Day 2019: Wetlands and Climate Change

Blue antilope © R. Mathevet - IFP
Nilgai or Blue Bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus) in Keoladeo Ghana NP wetlands, Bharatpur – India, Oct. 2017 © R. Mathevet – IFP

A wetland is an area of land that is permanently or seasonally covered with fresh, salt or brackish water. Marshes, estuaries, mangroves, mudflats, ponds, swamps, deltas, lagoons, bogs, lakes, and floodplains are disappearing at incredible speeds despite their high value to human populations for filtering and stocking waters, providing other natural resources such as fish or grass for livestock, and amazing sceneries and biodiversity.

Ruined house and wetland © R. Mathevet - IFP
Ruined house on the fringes of Kalivelli flood plain, Tamil Nadu – India, Nov. 2017 © R. Mathevet – IFP

Half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Today regional wetlands are still often underappreciated, and drained for agriculture development and shrimp farming or human settlements. And untouched wetlands may lose rapidly their own water and flooding regime with the increasing demand for water supply.

Women and wetlands © R. Mathevet - IFP
Women and Wetlands – rice-transplantation on the fringes of Kalivelli wetland, Tamil Nadu, March 2018 © R. Mathevet – IFP

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February to raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands. This day marks the date of the adoption of the International Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Livestock and drying season -© R. Mathevet - IFP
Livestock grazing during dry season, Kalivelli wetland, Tamil Nadu – India, Apr. 2018 © R. Mathevet – IFP

The theme of the World Wetlands Day 2019 is “Wetland and Climate change”.

Climate change will have a pronounced impact on wetlands through alteration in hydrological regimes with greater variability in quantity and quality of their water supply. In turn, these changes will affect human uses. However wetlands are key ecosystems to fight climate change especially by providing carbon sequestration, securing water cycle and ensuring the renewal of natural resource.

 

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