World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2

World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2

This ephemeris seeks to generate collective awareness about the importance of wetlands for biodiversity, the environment and the planet.

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are ecosystems in which water is the main factor controlling the environment and the plant and animal life associated with it. A broad definition of wetlands includes freshwater, marine and coastal ecosystems, such as lakes and rivers, subway aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and mudflats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all man-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

They represent one of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth, indispensable to humans and nature for the benefits and services they provide.


Why are they important?

In general terms, wetlands are reservoirs that harbor life, contributing to create a perfect balance in the different ecosystems of the planet. Their optimal functioning contributes to:

  • That 40% of the plants and animals that exist on the entire planet remain alive.
  • More than a billion people around the world can continue to live from wetlands.
  • 30% of the Earth’s carbon is concentrated in peatlands.
  • Wetlands are responsible for removing pollutants and this allows us to enjoy clean water.
  • They are great water reservoirs.
  • The mangroves and reefs of wetlands are responsible for protecting humans against natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
  • Coastal wetlands protect us from natural disasters, reducing the impact of hurricanes and tsunamis. They also fix the coastline and resist erosion.
  • They are spaces that help create conditions for plant and animal life to exist.
  • They are ideal places for recreational activities, contributing to increase tourism.

Why are they endangered?

Despite these great benefits, wetlands are one of the ecosystems suffering the greatest deterioration, loss and degradation, and this negative trend is expected to continue as a result of rapid population growth, unsustainable production and consumption, technological development and climate change.

With a 35% loss worldwide in the last 50 years, wetlands are our most threatened ecosystem, disappearing three times faster than forests.

Human activities causing wetland loss include drainage and filling for agriculture and construction, pollution, overfishing and overexploitation of resources, invasive species, and climate change.

Public awareness is urgently needed at national and global scales to reverse the accelerating loss of wetlands and promote their conservation and restoration.



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