FR EN ES Search
  1. Home
  2. Past Events
  3. Wetlands high speed disappearance


All the news

Wetlands: high speed disappearance

Between 1970 and 2015, about 35% of Earth’s wetlands have disappeared. The pace has quickened since 2000, according to recent report from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (on the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands ratified by 170 countries). These zones considered by the Convention cover a wide range: lakes, rivers, marshes and peatbogs as well as marine and coastal areas such as estuaries, lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs –  are disappearing three times faster than forests. No region has been spared!


A source of freshwater

It is estimated that wetlands now cover more than 12.1 million km2, a surface area larger than Greenland. Essential for humans and life, they provide nearly all the freshwater consumed. More than a billion people depend on wetlands and 40% of species live and reproduce in these aquatic habitats that provide them with the food they need. Their decline represents a serious threat to biodiversity.


A natural rampart against climatic deregulation

Wetlands also play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change, from better controlling floods to protecting coastlines and carbon storage. Peatbogs, which cover only 3% of Earth’s surface, store twice as much carbon as all its forests and marshes. Seagrass beds and mangroves are also ecosystems rich in carbon.


Multiple threats

The threats that weigh against wetlands are many and increasing: the drainage of water, pollution, non-sustainable development, the development of invasive species, the interruption of flows by dams, the accumulation of sediments due to deforestation and erosion, urbanisation, to name but a few.

Water pollution and the inflow of nutrient materials from runoff carrying fertilisers are among the most pressing problems worldwide. According to the United Nations, more than 80% of wastewater is discharged into wetlands without proper treatment.


Better inclusion of wetlands in environmental policies

International cooperation is required to combat the disappearance of wetlands, in particular to promote their rational utilisation. Trends to the contrary can only be changed by efficient institutions and good governance. The report especially emphasises the need for efficient wetland management plans and their integration when drawing up and implementing national sustainable development plans relating to climate change and other major international commitments.

Another path raised was finance. It has already been made available in certain regions and consists in involving communities and companies in the protection of these habitats in return for tax incentives.



Mettez à jour votre navigateur pour consulter ce site