Today is World Wetlands Day and this year’s theme “Wetlands for our Future” has inspired the Tantramar Wetlands Centre to share all the benefits that Wetlands provide us with, both now and for our future. Traditionally thought of as wastelands, wetlands have been lost at a staggering rate. Major changes in land use, including agriculture and infrastructure development, have led to the loss of 64% of the world’s wetlands since 1900. Click on the card below to find out some of the BIG benefits that wetlands hold for the world:
- Flood Prevention- Wetlands are like sponges. They absorb rainfall and hold excess water, lowering the risk of rivers and streams flooding. They act as buffers along coastlines to reduce the impact of strong storm surges.
- Habitat- Wetlands provide food and shelter for many species that visit or live there year round, including migrating waterfowl. They act as nurseries for many species of birds and fish.
- Recreation- We’ve all had the urge to get out in the great outdoors. Wetlands provide an opportunity for canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, scenic walks, fishing, skating or snowshoeing. Take a moment to think about any activities you’ve done in a wetland.
- Clean Drinking Water- Wetland soil, plants, and marine life will absorb and filter out harmful toxins, fertilizers and pesticides. Wetlands also help to replenish groundwater and store fresh water that will help in times of drought. Some communities rely heavily on this natural technique as large scale treatment plants are just too costly.
- Food- Rice is the staple diet of nearly 3 billion people and is grown in wetland paddies. Many commercial fish species rely on coastal wetland ecosystems for part of their life cycle.
- Fight Climate Change- Wetlands store large amounts of carbon. For example, peatlands alone store more than double the amount of carbon found in forests. Wetlands also help protect against erosion in the face of rising sea levels.
- Sustainable Products- When properly managed, wetlands can provide sustainable access to timber, fish, vegetable oils, furs, and important medicines.
- Biodiversity- Wetlands are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Wetlands are home to many endemic species; forms of life that are unique to one particular site.