During UCL Pond Restoration Week in September, we were thrilled to be joined by the Associated Press who followed us through a day’s work, and are using the footage to promote the importance of wetlands at a global scale.
The Associated Press write that most 90% of the world’s wetlands disappeared over the past three centuries, according to the Ramsar Convention, an organization formed around a 1971 treaty to protect wetlands. The loss rate has accelerated since the 1970s, with wetlands now disappearing three times faster than the world’s forests, the group says.
Every type of naturally occurring wetland has suffered — from ponds, freshwater swamps and coastal marshes, to fens, bogs and other peatlands.
The consequences can be profound:
* Roughly 5,000 wetland-dependent species threatened with extinction, including mammals, birds and amphibians, according to Ramsar.
* Fewer natural storage areas to hold back torrential rains means more severe floods in many parts of the world, including the U.S. heartland, as seen this summer.
* Draining wetlands, such as in Indonesia to make way for palm oil plantations, can release huge amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change.