Water | VOL.10, ISSUE 59, March-April 2010

Wetland Conservation

Wetlands, natural and man made, freshwater or brackish, provide numerous ecological services. The density of birds, in particular, is an accurate indication of the ecological health of a particular wetland. However, unsustainable use of wetlands without reckoning of their assimilative capacity constitutes a major threat to the conservation and management of these vital biodiversity rich areas. This restricts the prospects of future generations to utilise the benefits of services provided by wetlands. Definition The term ‘wetlands’ refers to a broad collection of water-based ecosystems, but more than 50 definitions of wetlands are used worldwide. Wetlands vary enormously in size, from tiny village ponds to lakes, bogs, marshes, rivers, and the largest inland delta in the world, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and character. Ramsar Convention on wetlands uses the definition, ‘areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres’ to classify wetlands. [caption id="attachment_3510" align="alignnone" width="840"] Figure 1: How wetland works: Among the most productive ecosystems wetlands directly or indirectly support millions of people.[/caption] Threats Dense human population in catchments, urbanisation, and various anthropogenic activities have resulted in over exploitation of wetland resources, leading to degradation in their quality and quantity. Today,...

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