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17 oktober 2012

Helft moerasgebieden vernietigd in vorige eeuw

Foto UNEP

UNEP, 16 oktober 2012

Half of the world’s wetlands were lost during the twentieth century - due mainly to factors such as intensive agricultural production, unsustainable water extraction for domestic and industrial use, urbanization, infrastructure development and pollution, according to UNEP. The continuing degradation of wetlands is resulting in significant economic burdens on communities, countries and businesses.

Global and local water cycles are strongly dependent on healthy and productive wetlands, which provide clean drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, and flood regulation, as well as supporting biodiversity and propping up industries such as fisheries and tourism in many locations.
Yet, despite the high value of these ecosystem services, wetlands continue to be degraded or lost at an alarming pace

Report
'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands' (PDF)

The Benefits of Wetlands

Water
Wetlands are a key factor in the global water cycle and in regulating local water availability and quality. They contribute to water purification, denitrification and detoxification, as well as to nutrient cycling, sediment transfer, and nutrient retention and exports. Wetlands can also provide waste water treatment and protection against coastal and river flooding.

Food Security
Wetlands play a key role in the provision of food, and habitats and nurseries for fisheries.

Job Security
Wetlands can be important tourism and recreation sites and support local employment.

Biodiversity
Wetlands are some of the most important biologically diverse areas in the world and provide essential habitats for many species. Coral reefs, peatlands, freshwater lakes, waterbirds, amphibians and wetland-dependent mammals such as hippopotamus, manatees and river dolphins are among those examples of biodiversity covered by the global Ramsar Convention network of “Wetlands of International Importance”, which comprises over 2,000 sites covering over 1.9 million km.

Climate change
Wetlands provide climate regulation, climate mitigation and adaptation, and carbon storage - for example in peatlands, mangroves and tidal marshes.

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