From: Roger Greenway, ENN
Published February 2, 2010 08:30 AM

Today is World Wetlands Day

It's World Wetland's Day! Plan a visit to a wetlands soon, you may be surprised at how beautiful they are!

For more than 25 years, February 2nd has been designated as World Wetlands Day. Wetlands are under-appreciated in many areas. First we have to drain the swamps, is still a common approach to development in many areas. This approach, of course, is actually a bad idea, a very bad idea, since wetlands, besides being important to the species that live there, are important groundwater recharge areas.

World Wetlands Day 2010: "Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change" stresses the fact that caring for wetlands is a part of the solution to climate change with the slogan: "Caring for wetlands — an answer to climate change."

Wetlands are vulnerable to human-induced climate change but, if managed well, they also play a role in its mitigation. These habitats will also be important in helping humans to adapt to climate change through their critical role in ensuring water and food security.

On 2 February 1971, the "Ramsar Convention on Wetlands" was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar to provide the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Carrying out this complex and challenging task requires that all bodies involved in implementing the convention have up-to-date and reliable information to understand wetland areas better, complete national inventories, perform monitoring activities, carry out assessments and put appropriate management plans in practice.

"Earth observation is playing an increasingly important role in the inventory, assessment, monitoring and management of wetlands," said Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention.

"We are highly appreciative of the support of ESA, especially through its GlobWetland initiative, and congratulate ESA on the launch of the GlobWetland II project which will not only help increase the capacity of a number of Mediterranean countries to achieve the wise use of wetlands and manage their Ramsar sites but will also contribute to informing the work of the Convention’s Scientific & Technical Review Panel in developing a G-WOS partnership for assessing and reporting on the status and trends of wetlands."

GlobWetland II aims to develop a G-WOS pilot information system to produce a number of wetland-related geo-information maps and indicators over 200 wetland sites and surrounding areas for different points in time. The geographical regions covered will be the coastal catchment areas of the southern and eastern part of the Mediterranean basin, extending from Morocco to Turkey.

For more information: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Space_for_our_climate/SEM2MMUJ15G_0.html

Resources for educators:

http://www.epa.gov/wetlands/

http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/

http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/web/wetlands.html

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