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


All the news

Wetlands: a high-speed disappearance

Between 1970 and 2015, about 35% of the world’s wetlands disappeared. The rate has accelerated since 2000, according to a recent report by the Ramsar Convention (an international treaty on the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands ratified by 170 countries). These areas – considered by the Convention in a broad sense: lakes, rivers, marshes and peat bogs, but also marine and coastal areas such as estuaries, lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs – are disappearing three times faster than forests. No region is spared!

A source of fresh water

It is estimated that wetlands currently cover more than 12.1 million km2, an area larger than Greenland. Crucial to human life, they provide almost all of the fresh water consumed. More than a billion people depend on them and 40% of species live and breed in these wetlands that provide them with food. Their decline is a serious threat to biodiversity.

Natural bulwark against climate change

These wetlands also have a key role in mitigating climate change, ranging from better flood control to coastal protection and carbon storage. For example, peatlands, which cover only 3% of the planet’s surface, retain twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests and marshes. Sea grass beds and mangroves are also carbon-rich ecosystems.


A multitude of threats

The growing threats faced by the world’s wetlands are numerous: water drainage, pollution, unsustainable use, development of invasive species, interruption of flows by dams, sediment discharge through deforestation and erosion, urbanization… Water pollution and nutrient loading from fertilizer runoff are among the biggest problems worldwide. According to the United Nations, more than 80% of wastewater is discharged into wetlands without adequate treatment.


Improving the integration of wetlands into environmental policies


International cooperation is necessary to fight against the disappearance of wetlands, especially to promote their wise use. Only good governance and effective institutions can reverse the trends. In particular, the report emphasizes the need for effective wetland management plans and their integration into the preparation and implementation of national plans on sustainable development, climate change and other important global commitments.

Another avenue mentioned is finance. It is already in place in some regions and consists in involving communities and companies in the protection of these ecosystems in exchange for tax benefits.

Mettez à jour votre navigateur pour consulter ce site