Wetlands Action For People And Nature


Welcome To Wetland

A Wetland is a distinct ecosystem where the land is covered by water, either salt or fresh or somewhere inbetween. It exists all around the world from polar to tropical region and high altitudes to dry regions.Wetlands are the ecotones or transitional zones between permanently aquatic and dry terrestrial ecosystems.

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A Wetland is a distinct

A Wetland is a distinct ecosystem where the land is covered by water, either salt or fresh or somewhere inbetween. It exists all around the world from polar to tropical region and high altitudes to dry regions.Wetlands are the ecotones or transitional zones between permanently aquatic and dry terrestrial ecosystems. Ramsar Convention has defined wetlands as “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 meters”. A wide variety of wetlands like marshes, swamps, open water bodies, mangroves and tidal flats and salt marshes etc. exist in our country. Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life.Wetlands are integral to a healthy environment. They help to retain water during dry periods, thus keeping the water table high and relatively stable. At the time of flood, they act to reduce flood levels and to trap suspended solids and nutrients to the lakes than if they flow directly into the lakes. Compared to tropical rain forests and coral reefs, wetlands are remarkable in their biological productivity. With respect to species richness and species diversity, these ecosystems stand higher than most other ecosystems. Wetlands are diverse and unique in structure, characteristics and functions, probably much more than other ecosystems. Wetlands are dynamic and complex and are under the influence of an array of biotic and abiotic factors. The most significant factor that determines the nature of a wetland is its hydrologic regime. Even for minor changes in the hydrologic regime of wetlands, biota may respond at times markedly in terms of species composition, richness, trophic relations and ecosystem productivity.

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Wetland Types

The wetlands show several characteristic features that are determined by the combination of salinity of the water, soil types and flora and fauna in that habitat. The wetlands are categorized into different types.
• Marine (coastal wetlands including coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs)
• Estuarine (including deltas, tidal marshes, and mangrove swamps)
• Lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes)
• Riverine (wetlands along rivers and streams) and
• Palustrine (meaning “marshy” - marshes, swamps and bogs)
In addition, there are human-made wetlands such as fish and shrimp ponds, farm ponds, irrigated agricultural lands, salt pans, reservoirs, gravel pits, sewage farms and canals. The Ramsar Convention has adopted a Ramsar Classification of Wetland Types which include 42 types, grouped into three categories: Marine and Coastal Wetlands, Inland Wetlands, and Human-made Wetlands.

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Threats To Wetlands

In India, momentous losses of wetlands have resulted from conversion to industrial, agricultural and various other developments. These have caused hydrological perturbations and its various reverberations, pollution and several other effects. The threats can also be distinguished under biotic and abiotic components.

Biotic Threats

Uncontrolled discharge of Waste Water, Industrial Effluents, Surface Run-Off Etc. Resulting In proliferation of aquatic weeds and eutrophication, which adversely affect the Flora And Fauna.

Biotic Threats

Tree felling for fuel wood and wood products causing soil loss affecting rainfall pattern. Loss of various aquatic species due to water level fluctuation.

Abiotic Threats

Encroachment resulting in shrinkage of area. Anthropogenic pressures resulting in habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity.

Abiotic Threats

Uncontrolled dredging resulting in changes. Hydrological intervention resulting in Loss of aquifers.

Wetlands And Climate Change

Wetlands play a key role in buffering the effects of climate change, thereby supporting climate adaptation and resiliency (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005).

Wetlands And Climate Change

Indeed, vegetated and healthy wetlands are among the most effective sinks for carbon on the planet. However, this potential is under appreciated in current policy discussions.




Need For Conserving Wetlands

The economic worth of the ecosystem services provided to society by intact, naturally functioning wetlands is frequently much greater than the perceived benefits of converting them to 'more valuable' intensive land use. To replace these wetland ecosystem services, enormous amounts of money would need to be spent on water purification plants, dams, levees, and other hard infrastructure, and many of the services are impossible to replace.