The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands
Half of the worlds wetlands have been destroyed in just the last 100 years, says a new TEEB report. Published by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), the report found that of the 25 million square kilometers of wetlands that existed in 1900 just 12.8 million square kilometers now remain.
Munich, 3 December 2012: The rate of destruction varies geographically with notable loses in East Asia running at 1.6 per cent per year. In places where aquaculture, over-exploitation (e.g. unsustainable harvesting of fish) and storm damage have been severe, the rate of destruction can be as high as 80 percent.
As some of the world's most biodiverse areas, wetlands supporting a quarter of global biological productivity. This high productivity means they are also an ideal setting for industry: ninety percent of the fish landed globally comes from coastal ecosystems, for example.
Wetlands play a key role in supporting human life. They help regulate the water cycle, act as carbon sinks, offer protection from floods and storms, regulate sediment transport and contribute to land formation and coastal stability.
Wetlands also deliver a range of services and benefits much more cheaply than man-made infrastructure. In the United Kingdom for example, wetlands have been found to make cost savings of up to £0.71 million per hectare in terms of sea defense. In the United States, the Mississippi River Delta provides at least $12-47 billion in benefits to people every year in terms of hurricane and flood protection, water quality improvements and recreation.
Yet, despite these startling statistics, wetlands continue to be degraded or lost altogether.
Wetlands and their wise use in water management must be put at the heart of the transition to a green economy, added the report, pushing the case for conservation of wetlands for human well-being.
Whether we have the resources or political will to secure conservation and wise use of wetlands rests on creating awareness of their importance. The TEEB report goes a long away to achieving this goal. This report is a called of attention for the police makers and the public to take actions and start having a better manage of this ecosystem.
You can download the report here.