Wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests
On Thursday, February 2, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and conservationists around the world will celebrate World Wetlands Day (WWD) to recognize the importance of wetland ecosystems to humans and wildlife. This year’s theme is “It’s Time to Restore Wetlands.”
Part of DU’s mission is to increase public awareness of the benefits that wetlands provide as waterfowl habitats and as critical natural water filters. Wetlands provide many services to our communities, including flood storage, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, fish habitat enhancement, and much more.
WWD is focused on conservation solutions for these beautiful and critical landscape features that some describe as the kidneys of nature due to their ability to filter and clean water.
World Water Day commemorates the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. Every year since the first celebration in 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses and citizens representing all segments of society have used the anniversary to raise public awareness of the values and benefits of wetlands. in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests. Over 80% of all wetlands have disappeared since the 18th century. Since 1970, at least 35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost.
“Wetland conservation is what we do,” said Karen Waldrop, DU’s director of conservation. “Ducks Unlimited volunteers, members, patrons and supporters have spent the last 86 years restoring or protecting more than 15.5 million acres of habitat in North America. I’m proud to say that every day is World Wetlands Day at Ducks Unlimited.”
DU, along with the help and support of its strong volunteers and partners, is preserving prairie potholes and native grasslands on the Great Plains, restoring lowland hardwood forests in the lower river valley. Mississippi, protecting and enhancing the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and protecting and enhancing wetland habitats in California’s Central Valley, Texas coastal prairies, and Louisiana coastal marshes, just to name a few.
“Ducks Unlimited remains committed to our conservation mission,” Waldrop said. “Thanks to the tireless support of generations of DU members, volunteers and partners, that hard work and commitment was on display again when DU protected or restored 575,000 acres of habitat in fiscal year 2022. But, as always, DU’s conservation work never-ending effort. Habitat work continues daily in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”
For more information on World Wetlands Day, visit https://www.worldwetlandsday.org/.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world‘North America’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving vanishing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to the contributions of more than one million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of enough wetlands to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever. For more information about our work, visit www.patos.org.