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World Wetlands Day 2011: focus on wetlands and forests


February 2, 2011. World Wetlands Day is this year celebrated with the theme “Forests for Water and Wetlands”. Wetlands International marks this day by launching its new initiatives to reverse the loss of the world’s wetland forests such as forested peatlands and mangroves.

Wetlands International: action to save wetland forests
Supported by a range of donors, Wetlands International starts various long-term programmes to protect and restore wetland forests. In Indonesia and West and East Africa, we plan to reforest hundreds of kilometers of coastline with mangrove trees. This helps to ensure more resilience against extreme weather events and supports locals with food and water security. To scale up these efforts we will furthermore feed our knowledge and methods into engineering projects to enhance coastal resilience.

In Indonesia, programmes will work with several partners to obtain conservation concessions of tens of thousands of hectares of remaining peatswamp forests. In addition the aim is to restore peatswamp areas that are already degraded. At the level of the UN climate negotiations (UNFCCC) we continue to push for incentives to reduce the enormous amounts of carbon emissions from peatlands. REDD could stimulate large scale conservation and restoration of peatswamp forests in countries like Indonesia. Wetlands International will also continue its efforts for criteria to exclude palm oil from peatlands in certified palm oil, at the levels of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm oil (RSPO) and in the EU. See our yesterday's press release on palm oil and deforestation in Malaysia.

Activities to celebrate Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day is led by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. All over the world, organisations and governments highlight the theme. Wetlands International offices celebrate World Wetlands Day 2011 with several activities ranging from mangrove planting, exhibits and symposia.

Wetlands and forests: a strong combination
The problems that result from the loss of forested wetlands illustrate the importance of their protection. Drainage of forested peatswamps  in Southeast Asia cause annual emissions of a magnitude of 1 gigatonne CO2. This makes the issue a global problem for mankind, besides the striking problems of loss of biodiversity, loss of timber and other local resources.
The values of mangrove forests are increasingly being recognised as well, as illustrated by the Mangrove Charter signed in West Africa. Fish stocks depend on these areas for spawning; coastal erosion is prevented and salt water intrusion halted. The rapid loss of these areas is having a great impact on coastal resilience.

Wetlands International

Alex Kaat (Communications Manager)
+31 (0)318 660 912

+31 (0)6 5060 1917 (Mobile)

Press contact

Communications and Advocacy Department