Research conclusions are very clear: The world needs wetlands for clean water, shoreline protection, food and livelihoods.
Wetlands provide some of the most productive eco-services on our earth. Among other things, healthy wetlands filter water, trap sediment and erosion run-off, protect shorelines from storms and sea level rise, provide habitat and nurseries for fish and wildlife AND even provide water, food and shelter for humans.
According to Wetlands International, wetlands can be freshwater, brackish or saline, inland or coastal, seasonal or permanent, natural or man-made. Wetlands include mangroves, (peat) swamps and marshes, rivers, lakes, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, and even coral reefs. They exist at high altitudes, in arid regions and even in Artic regions. “Wetlands exist in every country and in every climatic zone, from the polar regions to the tropics. They are distributed around the world and cover an area that is 33% larger than the USA.”
Community organizations around the world recognize the economic benefits that healthy wetlands contribute to their livelihoods and know what must be done to encourage stewardship of fragile wetland ecosystems in their own communities. Their solutions range from raising awareness of wetland importance, to shoreline restoration, and even to encouraging wetlands tourism. The Wetlands Project was founded to help these communities fund programs that encourage and promote wetlands conservation.