Restoring wetlands

With decades of expertise we help bring degraded wetlands back to life. We focus on the most precious wetland areas for biodiversity, the well-being of communities, water management and carbon sequestration.

When working at the field level on wetland restoration, we always partner with local communities and authorities. In developing countries, we often utilise a Bio-rights microcredit approach to involve people in conservation and sustainable development.

Example 1 From fire-prone wastelands to tropical peatswamp forests

The key example of degraded peatlands is Central Kalimantan, Indonesia where the Mega Rice Project failed to turn the lush peat swamp forests into rice fields. On the contrary, it left an impoverished population of migrant workers living in completely unproductive wastelands. By building a small dam and blocks we restored water levels, allowing the natural vegetation to thrive again. By replanting native tree species and establishing community fire brigades, we improved the income of locals and reduced the risk of peat fires. Read more

Example 2 From abandoned shrimp ponds to mangrove forests

In Southeast Asia, as in other parts of the tropical world, mangrove forests are converted into ponds for shrimp aquaculture. After a few years of unsustainable operations, the profits vanish and the ponds are abandoned. Through our silvofisheries approach, which combines the reforestation of mangroves with the introduction of diverse species of sustainable aquaculture, we restore the ponds and surroundings. These practices bring the ponds back to life, attract fish and birds, and provide income for communities. Read more

Example 3 From eroded mountains to high altitude marshes

Overgrazing from yaks and sheep eroded the Ruoergai marshes (China) on the Tibetan Plateau, damaging its capacity to store and regulate the runoff water from glaciers. This led to an increased risk of flooding downstream. Working with the government and the local herders, we blocked the gullies, replanted grasslands, and limited the pressure from overgrazing. Through the use of greenhouses and alternative energy sources we also improved the herder families’ incomes and working conditions. Read more

Example 4 From abandoned Russian peat mines to marshes

The western part of Russia in particular suffers from occasional wildfires. The smog from wildfires in the summer of 2010 caused severe health problems in Moscow and other cities. Often referred to as forest fires, many of these were actually fires from drained and abandoned peat mines. In 2011, Wetlands International started a programme to lead a large-scale restoration project in the region around Moscow. Read more