Hello lovely readers. World Wetlands day is on the 2nd of February annually, raising awareness and marking the signing of the convention on wetlands in 1971. If you’re wondering why on earth you should care about wetlands, don’t worry because that’s what this article is going to cover.
A little bit of background on why we have chosen to feature this day in our sustainability hub article. The wetlands convention was signed in 1971 in Iran, specifically in Ramsar, which is why protected wetlands are called Ramsar sites. The convention recognised that wetlands have significant ecological importance, and any damage would be irreparable, thus sparking the need for international action. If you compare it to the convention on climate change, which was signed in 1992 (21 years later), you could argue that very little has changed.
Wetlands are a hive of biodiversity, even comparable to the biodiversity of rain forests and coral reefs. Except instead of being a vibrant celebration of diversity, wetlands are a plant’s death bed. As awful as that sounds, it’s what makes wetlands so unique and diverse; the diversity just isn’t as easily seen. The water saturation slows the breakdown of plant matter, allowing for the nutrients released through decomposition to settle into the soil, be absorbed by the water and be used by algae, bacteria, and microbes. This slow release sustains a huge variety of algae, bacteria, zooplankton, and insects, all of which form the base of a food web.
Wetlands only cover 6% of the earths land surface but 40% of all species rely on wetlands to live or breed. If that doesn’t convince you, how about the fact that peatlands alone (a type of wetland) store twice as much carbon as the world’s forests combined according to the UN. Greater action after this convention was signed would have significantly helped when the convention on climate change was signed. Instead wetlands are disappearing 3 times faster than forests and we have lost 35% of the world’s wetlands in the last 50 years.
Now I’ve convinced you on why wetlands are important, let’s talk about what we can do about it. The theme for 2023 is regeneration, so you can volunteer at one of the 156 protected wetlands, helping to keep them healthy. At 2000 Hillswood Drive, we collect rainwater that feeds into the lake, helping to prevent it from stagnating or drying up. South Korea has 24 protected wetlands of differing varieties, but the southern coast has potential for so much more.
The aim of World Wetlands Day is mainly to bring more awareness and I hope this article has made you think about what could be considered a bog or a swamp in a different light.