The ability to provide applied knowledge on wetland issues is a core value of our organisation. In order to improve specific policies and practices, we are dedicated to staying on top of the latest knowledge developments.
We strive to collect information on wetlands, their values and services. We also keep abreast of the latest scientific developments in order to improve wetland-related policies and practices. For this, we maintain a network of Specialist Groups and Associate Experts
. We also collaborate with scientific institutions and individual researchers. Where we see key gaps in the available knowledge, we conduct or stimulate further research.
We intensively monitor the impacts of our field level activities on wetlands restoration
, and their ability to empower communities
. In this way, we develop the practical know-how and facilitate best practices wetlands management by others.
Knowledge areas we take a leading role in
Below are some important examples of our own knowledge development.
Managing information on key wetland areas
Our organisation maintains the database on key wetlands. This work assists the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (the global intergovernmental convention dealing with wetlands) in maintaining a global overview on the network of Wetlands of International Importance, and guides the further development of this network.
Wetlands International supports the conservation and sustainable management of waterbird populations by collecting information on the status and trends of waterbird populations (through the International Waterbird Census
) and through synthesising the results into products such as flyway atlases and information portals such as the (Critical Site Network tool
). This information is used in identifying key wetlands
for waterbirds, informing waterfowl management and addressing Avian Influenza.
Peatlands and carbon dioxide emissions
Our organisation has conducted several projects to save peatlands (wetlands with organic soils). In recent years, we have been heavily involved with partners in investigating the carbon dioxide emissions from the degradation and drainage of peat soils. These projects took place in various parts of the world: Siberia, the Himalayan region, Argentina (Tierra del Fuego), Southeast Asia and Europe. See our work on peatlands and CO2 emissions
Managing wetlands in river catchments
Managing river flows requires a clear understanding of all developments in a catchment (the area where the flows originate). Wetlands such as marshes and lakes are very important for their ability to store excess rainwater and to mitigate the peaks and lows of water run-off. In our wetlands work, we are involved in advising river management authorities on how to prevent floods and droughts. A good example is our work on the Niger River
, where we evaluated the costs and benefits of dams, irrigation schemes and floodplains in Mali to identify a more optimal use of the precious river water.