Wetlands are one of the very important natural infrastructures around us, we are losing fast. They are the biggest store house of carbon, offer flood mitigation, support ground water quality, filter and purify water, perform nutrient cycling, help stabilize climatic conditions and offer habitats for various floral and faunal species. All together they provide ecosystem services worth USD $20 trillion a year.
Peatlands, such as the vast permafrost areas of Russia and Canada, the Everglades in the US, Paramós of the Andes, or the Greater Berbak in Indonesia, harbour about 30% of all carbon on land; representing the second most important carbon storage in the world after the oceans. Other than services for biodiversity and water resources, wetlands play a vital role in providing livelihood for millions; supplying food and other materials like fish, rice, agricultural products, timber and fibre.
In India, wetlands are equally important. On a study done by Dr. Kunal Chatophadhyay in 2002, the valuation of 1500 Ha of East Kolkata Wetlands was estimated to be INR. 33.89 Crores. One can thus image the net worth of all wetlands which occupy approximately 4% of the total geographical area of India.
However due to our ignorance, the wetlands are fast degrading everywhere. With Government of India becoming stricter day by day on protecting wetlands, one can see the enforcement of various laws and rules like the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017. Within India and outside India we see the different impacts of degradation of different ecosystems and ecosystem services. The water crisis of South African cities is a recent example for this.
On the occasion of World Wetlands Day, Leaders for Nature participated in a conservation dialogue organized at Yamuna Biodiversity Park. Through this conservation dialogue, LfN shared about the needs of businesses to take care of their impacts on wetlands and associated biodiversity as well as taking up various restoration and conservation initiatives in this sector.
Click here to find the web story on World Wetland Day celebration 2018.