Worldwide wetland loss and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services
Aim: Best strategies for future conservation and management to address global and regional trends in wetland loss and degradation are assessed in this article.
Main concepts covered: Direct drivers of wetland loss and change include land drainage and filling, hydrologic alteration, degradation from pollutants and sediments, and conversion to agriculture, urban and industrial usage. Estimates of global wetland loss are as high as 87% since 1700 CE. All regions of the world have lost wetland area. The designation of wetland protected area reduces disturbance by humans and supports the conservation of biodiversity and habitat. Protected areas have been designated by local, state, or federal entities, NGOs (e.g., Nature Conservancy), and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Protected wetlands have great value for human society. For example, wetlands such as peatland and swamp store carbon that would otherwise be released as greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. A case study of the Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India underscores the importance of maintaining water supply to maintain aquatic vegetation in protected wetlands.
Conclusion/outlook: Given the combined stresses of land-use and climate change to wetland protected areas, management of altered wetlands may improve their function. Beneficial management actions can include freshwater remediation of hydrologically-altered floodplains, improved wetland reserve design, assisted migration, and the softening of burning/cutting during drought. A better knowledge of potential of management actions to remediate land-use change will be helpful in addressing protected area management to promote conservation in the future.
|Worldwide wetland loss and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Wetland and Aquatic Research Center