In 20 years, 4,000 km2 of valuable wetlands have disappeared

You too will be interested

[EN VIDÉO] Will humanity survive the decline of biodiversity?
It seems clear that humanity is involved with its ecosystem. If biodiversity collapses, it will obviously no longer be able to provide ecosystem services. Does humanity exist decently in this situation? Futura was able to resolve this question with Gilles Boyev, a researcher and president of the FBI’s Scientific Council.

A Wet areasIt’s notThe wind Nothing, just like that. But from a nature conservation standpoint, it can do a lot. Because on earth, Wet areas It consists of a reservoir Biodiversity. They help reduce Natural disasters. They are a structure Carbon sink. They also have significant economic value. And some Cambridge University researcher (United Kingdom) Confirm today that the Convention on Wetlands recently implied: Ecosystem There is more danger than ever before.

Researchers have analyzed more than one million satellite images. From a very real point of view, they declare that 4,000 km2 From the swamp The tide – Wetlands or Mangroves, For example – has disappeared in the last 20 years. It is the equivalent of the surface of the Alps-Maritimes section. But thanksArtificial intelligence And with machine learning, they were able to better identify these wetland losses.

Towards new wetlands

Researchers thus conclude that about one-third – 27% of the losses – or gains – because conservation activities make it possible to recover wetlands – are directly related to human activity: transformation. Land For ‘Agriculture, For example. This is especially the case in Asia, which accounts for three-quarters of the world’s total loss of tidal wetlands. The rest of the damage is responsible for human impact ReservoirEconomic development of coastal areas, coastal reduction, Global warmingBut also in natural coastal processes.

This work further shows that three-quarters of the damage – about 14,000 kilometers2 Total – Offset by the creation of new wetlands. Especially in areas where they did not exist before. Significant expansion in the Gangetic delta andAmazon, For example. Migration which must be considered for more efficient management in the future In coastal areas Low altitude where more than one billion people in the world still live.

Wetlands are disappearing when they are essential for our survival

Wetlands, an essential ally in the fight against global warming, are under threat and degraded around the world. The United Nations estimates that 35% of wetlands have disappeared since 1970, although they have many unknown benefits, such as disaster mitigation, carbon sequestration and human health.

Its essay Karin Durand Published on 07/01/2022

The Wetland Convention (Or the Ramsar Convention) has just updated its latest report on the state Wet areas The world and their importance Backup. Although everyone’s eyes are focused on decay Amazon forest Or on the missing GlacierWetlands are the most threatened ecosystems on the planet: Wetlands, bogs, Wetlands, lagoons, mangroves and other water points are now disappearing at a rate 3 times faster than forests. 36% Species Dependent Wet areas Faced with a global threat. Little is known about the role of wetlands in the functioning of the earth: reservoirs of biodiversity, but disaster mitigation, human health and carbon sequestration.

Threats: Agriculture, livestock, pollution and climate change

The total surface area of ​​wetlands is 1.2 billion hectares; This gives a territory larger than Canada. But in just 50 years, they have already lost one-third of their total surface area.

Anarchic exploitation of land (especially Agriculture and livestock) Is the cause of the initial decay Wet areasWhen the Wetlands Convention emphasizes the fact that ” The future of sustainable food production depends on healthy wetlands and their wise use. “. Agriculture has been responsible for the loss of more than half of the wetlands since 1970. Then the over-exploitation of livestock, plants, pollution, Invading speciesBut also Forest explorationAs well as hunting and Sin Species required for the functioning of this area. And the Convention’s prophecies are rather dark about the future: all these threats to land and biodiversity. Many future situations are expected to continue or worsen in response to indirect drivers such as rapid human population growth, sustainable production and use, and technological advances. Related. A

Agriculture has been responsible for the loss of more than half of the wetlands since 1970

Wetlands are also particularly affected by climate change: sea level rise, Coral bleaching And disrupt hydrology. Wetlands among all the wetlands of the world Arctic And the mountains are more exposed to climate risks. In the area Climate Rather dry, bring more suffering from Drought With global warming, water pressure is becoming more important, and many wetlands necessary for biodiversity and human populations are drying up.

Another geographical area where wetland degradation is evident is the Mediterranean region. Since 1992, Mediterranean marine biodiversity 52% and its biodiversity has declinedPure water By 28%. The Debit Between 1960 and 2000, the amount of rivers in the Mediterranean basin decreased by 25 to 70%, affecting seasonal wetlands. Intensive agriculture consumes about two-thirds of the freshwater resources of the Mediterranean. With more than 42% of the Mediterranean population settled along the coast, settlement, industry and tourism are degrading coastal wetlands and increasing water demand.

Unknown benefits of wetlands

The interest in protecting and restoring the planet’s wetlands is multiple and often completely unknown to farmers, breeders and more generally to the local people. The Convention estimates that 4 billion people (out of a population of about 8 billion in the world) depend directly on wetlands for their survival. The economic value of the wetlands that they provide to humanity is estimated at, 47,400 billion per year!

One of the goals of the UN is to restore 50% of the destroyed Pitlands by 2030.

Coastal wetlands, e.g. MangrovesTo separate Carbon dioxide 55 times faster than Tropical forests. The bogs, Which covers only 3% of the Earth’s surface, separates 30% of the underground carbon. Pitland and coastal blue carbon ecosystems (salt marshes, mangroves, seagrass beds, etc.) are very efficient carbon sinks in good condition, but when degraded they become important sources of carbon. Greenhouse gas.

One of the goals of the UN is to restore 50% of the destroyed Pitlands by 2030. Mangroves, Atoll And Algae Also play a role that alleviates barriers Immersion Ribs in the case Storm And Tsunami. On land, peat bugs, ponds, rivers and water points generally absorb excess waterFlood And hold them in case of drought. This is called the ecosystem Nature-based solutions.

Population health also depends on well-regulated wetlands: ” Its control Emerging zoonotic disease Depends on intact and well-managed ecosystems and conservation of local biodiversity. Wetlands can have health benefits for all if they adopt an ecosystem system. Ecological degradation and unscrupulous wildlife trade increase the risk The epidemic Three-quarters of destructive and new diseases originate from zoonotic “. In addition, ” Water-related diseases, e.g. Diarrhea Millions of people are killed every year because of poor management of wetlands by children transported in unhealthy waters. “.

To better promote the importance of wetlands and encourage their protection and restoration around the world, August 30, 2021 United Nations General Assembly Decided to dedicate a World Day for this ecosystem. From now on, February 2 of each year will be celebrated as “World Wetlands Day”.

Ramsar site in France. সার Ramsar France

Discover the thread of science! Follow the weekly scientific news summary every Friday, from 6:30 pm, decoded for you by Futura journalists.

Are you just interested in reading?

Leave a Comment