According to a new report, wetland conservation should feature as an independent topic of discussion in the negotiations at the upcoming biodiversity and climate change conferences for effective carbon sequestration.
- Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geologic formations, and the ocean.
GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment, Conventions regarding conservation of ecology)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Five suggested targets by Wetlands International to be achieved by 2030
- What are wetlands?
- Importance of Wetlands
- Wetland disturbances
Five suggested targets by Wetlands International to be achieved by 2030
Experts from the Wetlands International, a global non-profit, in a new white paper suggested five global, science-based conservation efforts to protect and restore wetlands.
- The remaining, undrained peatland carbon stores should be kept intact and 10 million hectares of drained peatlands need should be restored.
- The Global mangrove cover of 20 %.
- The preservation of free-flowing rivers and floodplains, along with enhancement of restoring the floodplain ecosystem and its function in the area.
- The 10% increase of the West African river Volta in the tidal flats area.
- Identification of 50 % of the 7,000 critically important sites along the flyways to be brought under favourable management.
What are wetlands?
- A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail.
- The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil.
- The main wetland types are swamp, marsh, bog, and fen; sub-types include mangrove forest, carr, pocosin, floodplains, mire, vernal pool, sink, and many others.
- The largest wetlands include the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, the Pantanal in South America, and the Sundarbans in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.
Importance of Wetlands
Wetlands play a number of functions such as:
- Water storage (flood control)
- Groundwater replenishment
- Shoreline stabilisation and storm protection
- Water purification
- Reservoirs of biodiversity
- Wetland products
- Cultural values
- Recreation and tourism
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.
Wetlands, the functions and services they provide as well as their flora and fauna, can be affected by several types of disturbances – the predominant ones include the following:
- Organic loading and reduced dissolved oxygen
- Contaminant toxicity
- Altered solar input (turbidity/shade)
- Vegetation removal
- Thermal alteration
- Habitat fragmentation
- Other human presence
Human Activities that affect Wetlands:
- Unsustainable water use
Wetlands have historically been the victim of large draining efforts for real estate development, or flooding for use as recreational lakes or hydropower generation.
-Source: Down to Earth