Activities are taking place around the world today to celebrate World Wetlands Day, an annual event which highlights the importance of conserving wetland habitats.
Forty years of wetland conservation
Celebrated each year on the 2nd February, World Wetlands Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention on Wetlands, or Ramsar Convention. Now in its 40th year, the Convention has played a key role in the conservation and protection of wetland ecosystems, and continues to work towards their sustainable management for both wildlife and people.
Since it was first celebrated in 1997, World Wetlands Day has been marked by a huge range of activities and actions for wetlands, from lectures and seminars, to community events and the launching of new wetland policies. This year is no exception, with events taking place around the world to help raise awareness of these valuable habitats.
Forests for water and wetlands
The theme for World Wetlands Day 2011 is ‘Wetlands and Forests’, chosen because 2011 is the UN International Year of Forests.
Forested wetlands, such as mangroves and swamps forests, are home to a vast array of species and are vital in freshwater management and in combating climate change. Unfortunately, many face a range of threats including development, drainage and land conversion. All types of forest play an essential role in the health of wetlands and water supplies, and their loss can affect both wildlife and humans.
Wetlands for the future
Although much has already been done to conserve the world’s wetlands, they continue to face severe and ever-increasing threats, and many internationally important sites are still in need of protection.
It is hoped that World Wetlands Day 2011 will help raise awareness of these vital habitats and the many threats they face.
Visit Wetlands International for more information on World Wetlands Day.
Read more about the Ramsar Convention.
Liz Shaw, ARKive Species Text Author