What are Wetlands?
- A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem
- The Ramsar Convention defines wetlands as “areas of marsh, fen, peatlands or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres“.
- Five major wetland types are generally recognized:
- marine (coastal wetlands including coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs);
- estuarine (including deltas, tidal marshes, and mangrove swamps);
- lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes);
- riverine (wetlands along rivers and streams); and
- palustrine (meaning “marshy” – marshes, swamps and bogs).
- The definition of wetlands is very broad and includes ponds, water storage areas, low-tide coastal zones and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
Why in News?
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the ‘Save Wetlands Campaign’ wetlands conservation, enabling affirmative actions for wetlands conservation at all levels of the society and involving all strata of the society.
- This campaign over next one year will include sensitizing people of the value of wetlands, increasing the coverage of wetland mitras and building citizen partnerships for wetlands conservation.