RSPB Titchwell Marsh and RSPB Snettisham are taking part in the celebration of World Wetlands Day on February 2 to raise awareness of the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet.
This day marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The Ramsar Convention, to which 169 countries are committed, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation of wetlands and appropriate use of wetland resources. It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem, namely our wetlands.
The coastal wetlands around RSPB Titchwell Marsh and Snettisham include the saltwater marshes and lagoons which are under threat from major changes to land use. Our wetlands are essential for a diversity of amphibians, reptiles, freshwater fish, invertebrates and plant life. They provide invaluable areas for bird breeding and migration. Wintering birds reach over 300,000, including waders and passerines.
Wetlands replenish groundwater aquifers and purify and filter chemical waste. Pollutants from agricultural fertilisers, pesticides and other toxins are absorbed by wetland areas. They form a vital carbon sink. CO2 emissions from peatland fires and extraction equate to around 10% of all annual fossil fuel emissions.
Wetlands can act as natural sponges, absorbing rainfall and reducing flooding. Saltmarshes buffer inland areas against storm surges, reducing erosion and increasing coastal resilience against climate change.
To give our Wetlands a global perspective, more than one billion people around the world depend directly on wetlands to earn an income through activities such as; fishing, rice growing, selling water, construction, weaving, medicine, transport and tourism etc. For these people, healthy wetlands are essential for their livelihoods and vital for their wellbeing.
On Friday 12th February visitors to RSPB Snettisham can take part in a guided walk which will focus on the value of our local wetlands.
For details of all our activities and guided walks go to www.rspb.org.uk/titchwell or ring 01485 210779.