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Wetlands International new publication “Water Lands: A Vision for the World’s Wetlands and their People” calls for a reinvention of wetlands for the modern world

In the Anthropocene we need the abundance of wetlands as much as we need healthy but we are losing them three times as fast. Between 1900-2000, the world lost almost two-thirds of its wetlands – the bogs, swamps, mangroves, mires, natural river banks, lakes, billabongs, deltas, oases, lagoons, fens, mudflats or floodplains – due to drainage, conversion for agriculture, urbanisation and infrastructure such as dams, dykes, harbours and ports.

The loss of wetlands are at the root of myriad social and environmental issues – from flooding, coastal erosion and subsidence in Indonesia to extreme drought and violent conflict across the Sahel, not to mention tropical and permafrost ‘carbon time bombs’ – yet few are even aware let alone acting in a way that’s needed to make a change.

From Wetlands International comes Water Lands, a beautifully illustrated book about this life-giving, global ecosystem.

From the peat bogs of Ireland to the bayous of Louisiana; from the flooded forests of Cambodia to the permafrost of Siberia; from the mangroves of the Ganges Delta to the ‘everlasting swamps’ of the Nile; and from the marshes of the Brazilian Pantanal to the boggy upland pastures of Tibet, wetlands are in-between and ever-changing worlds. Sometimes wet and sometimes dry, sometimes land and sometimes water, sometimes saline and sometimes fresh; they change character with the seasons, or may lie dormant for decades before bursting into life.

  • With the spotlight in 2020 firmly on the twinned crises of climate and biodiversity and the choices the world must make to avoid catastrophe, journalist Fred Pearce and Wetlands International chief executive, Jane Madgwick, set out a timely call to action for one of the world’s most overlooked ecosystems.
  • Managing land and water together is going to be key to reversing land degradation worldwide. Wetlands are critical for people and ecosystems. This has become crystal clear in dryland areas such as around Lake Chad and the Aral Sea. The collapse of these wetland ecosystems has adversely affected the land, biological diversity and the well-being of the people. Water Lands presents a compelling and urgent call to action by all.’ Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

 water lands