The notion of humans protecting vulnerable ecosystems isn’t new. There are many that spring to mind, like endangered species in Africa or the coral reefs in the Carribean. There will be very few people, however, who will think of wetlands as in need of protection. But wetlands are one of the ways that nature regulates water in land areas, protecting from flood and preserving fresh water supply in times of drought. So while not arable land itself, wetlands is what makes the land around it as fertile and fruitful as it is. Protecting it should be the priority of any nation whose territory it is, and there are ways in which individuals can help do that too.
One of the reasons why wetlands need protection and conservation efforts is because there were extensive projects of draining wetlands for agricultural land all over the world during the 20th century. Many countries lost almost half of their wetland territory due to this activity, with some much higher, such as New Zealand, which lost 90% of the wetlands it had before European settlers arrived. If you live in a community with wetlands close by, you have plenty of opportunity to help.
The simplest way to do this is by volunteering. The Apulo-Albaninan wetlands are a beautiful natural treasure that attracts many tourists each year. And all areas where tourism is growing need to be mindful of the pollution that it brings. Volunteering regularly for large clean-up campaigns is essential to keep the waters and marshes clean. After all, the wetlands are part of the freshwater supply, even if the connection between the water in the wetlands and what is coming out of your tap isn’t obvious.
Another important action you can take is spreading awareness. Like we’ve already mentioned, most people don’t think of wetlands as vulnerable ecosystems. That is why it is essential to let the local community know that much of their infrastructure depends on the health of the wetlands. From the water that they get into their homes, to the amount of food that can be grown locally, to the fish that is available in local lakes and rivers. If the local economy depends heavily on fishing, then wetland conservation should be on top of the priority list.
Finally, wetland conservation is most effective when it is done on a political level. It is important to keep a close eye on the kind infrastructural projects your local and regional governments are undertaking, and the kind of private projects they are giving their green light to. Any infrastructural project that does damage to the wetlands is a project that does more harm than good. Also, farming corporations are always looking for fertile land to make a profit off of, and freshly drained wetlands are some of the most nutrient rich soils out there, which makes them highly desirable to farmers. Make sure your politicians know that if they sell out their wetlands to lobbyists, the local community will not sit idly by.