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Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

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Presentation on theme: "Ramsar Convention on Wetlands"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
“Wetlands and Water: supporting life sustaining wetlands” Kampala, Uganda, 8-15 November Final Presentation Task Group: Sean Mandel, Aimee Barnes Megan Stouffer, and Emily Capello Ramsar is a convention on wetlands… so what are wetlands and why are they important?

2 Summary of the Presentation
Definition of a Wetland and the Ecological Services Wetlands Provide Drivers of Wetland Degradation Wetlands Problems Introduction to Ramsar and the COP 9: Resolution IX.4 Annex Solutions Proposed by COP 9 Controversies of the Proposed Solutions Monitoring and Measurements of Success

3 What is a Wetland? Wetlands are difficult to define:
Range of hydrological conditions Great variation in size, location, and human influence Distinguishing features of wetlands: Presence of standing water Unique wetland soil Vegetation adapted to or tolerant of saturated soils

4 Why Protect Wetlands? Healthy wetlands provide important services:
Ecological Recreational Scientific Cultural Economic When considering policy for wetlands, economic considerations often speak the loudest The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has suggested an estimate of about 570 million hectares (5.7 million km2) – roughly 6% of the Earth’s land surface – of which 2% are lakes, 30% bogs, 26% fens, 20% swamps, and 15% floodplains. Photos:

5 Drivers of Degradation & Destruction of Wetlands
Aquaculture Public Perception Agriculture Urban/Suburban Development Photo: Oyster leases at Wallis Lake, NSW (photo by Dave Ryan) Photo: Photo: wetlands/wildrice.jpg Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service:

6 Problem: Loss and Fragmentation of Wetlands
Development, agriculture, and aquaculture lead to habitat fragmentation Barriers for water provision and irrigation redirect water Fish cannot reach spawning grounds or food sources Habitat destruction and fragmentation is the number one cause of declining fish populations Barries created can be for agriculture, water reservoirs ect.

7 Implications of Wetland Loss and Fragmentation
Decreased ecological integrity and services: Loss of groundwater reserves Shoreline erosion Loss of spawning and feeding grounds for fish Decline in commercial/noncommercial populations Red arrow = sediment input into waterway Black arrow = nutrient input into waterway Yellow diamond = contaminants Dots = sediments Circle = healthy food web Photo:

8 Implications of Wetland Loss and Fragmentation
Loss of storm protection services: Storm surge protection through friction and absorption Wave height reduction by causing waves to touch bottom earlier and break Soil retention by lowering water velocities Decrease storm surge through friction. Between 1 and 2.7 miles of wetlands, on average one foot of storm surge is absorbed Store stormwater and replenish groundwater Decrease wave heights by causing waves to touch bottom earlier and break. Studies have concluded that more than half of normal wave energy is dissipated within the first 3 meters of encountering marsh vegetation such as cord-grass Decrease erosion by lowering water velocities and binding the soil Photo: Photo: Photo: com/hurricane-katrina-2.jpg

9 Implications of Loss of Storm Protection Services
Decreased natural barrier against extreme weather events Increased flooding Increased destruction due to storms Destruction of fisheries and their infrastructure Photo:

10 Problem: Pollution Development, agriculture, and aquaculture lead to:
Discharge of excess nutrients (nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)) from sewage, soaps and detergents, and agricultural runoff Sediments from soil erosion Toxins (heavy metals and organic compounds like mercury and PCBs) Improperly managed wetlands cannot effectively filter pollutants

11 Implications of Pollution
Decreased water quality Bioaccumulation of toxins in wetland species Decline in native plant, fish, and waterfowl populations Eutrophication of wetlands Excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or body of water, frequently due to a runoff in land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and the death of animal life from lack of oxygen Photo:

12 So What Happens?

13 Mission of Convention "the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world." Purpose (Cop7 1999, San Jose, Costa Rica)

14 Key Data Current sites: 1608 wetland sites
Number of parties: 152 nations Surface area: 345 million acres Categories: Marine & Coastal, Inland, & Human-Made Encompasses 42 wetland types Surface Area: Bigger than France, Germany and Switzerland combined Considered one of the first multilateral conservation agreement Photo: David Trilling (2006) Iraq

15 Legislation vs. Agreement
Legislation is law Mandates and enforces behavior Passed by a governing body Agreements or treaties Contractual agreement Can be binding or prescriptive According to Article 9.2 of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), "Any member of the United Nations or of one of the Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice may become a Party to this Convention". Unfortunately, supranational bodies, such as the European Commission, are thus not eligible to join the Convention, but may nevertheless develop bilateral working agreements with the Convention secretariat. Wetlands function as a natural sponge to absorb and slowly release water and reduce flood heights Ramsar is prescriptive not binding! Photo:

16 Conference of Parties (COP) 9: Resolution IX.4-Annex:
The Ramsar Convention and Conservation, Production and Sustainable Use of Fisheries Resources

17 Solutions of COP 9 Resolution IX.4 Annex
Sustainable management of wetland ecosystems for fisheries Increased international cooperation Improvements to information on the status of fisheries in Ramsar sites There are 11 different solutions identified in the annex but we have focused on these Highlight the importance of inland, coastal, and near-shore marine wetlands to fisheries Integrate fishery management to wetlands management Increase understanding on the importance of wetlands to biodiversity Sustaining fisheries as an economic resource Promote “Wise Use” of resources Create a scientific forum for wetlands education Photo:

18 1. Sustainable management of wetland ecosystems for fisheries
“Wise use” and maintenance of ecological structure of wetlands Photos:

19 Implementation: “Wise Use” Framework
The Ramsar Toolkit 14 handbooks on how to implement the Ramsar Convention Photos:

20 2. Increased International Cooperation
Salmon migration: Chum Chinook Sockeye Source:

21 3. Improvements to information on the status of fisheries in Ramsar sites
Salmon Indicators at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge—1st U.S. RAMSAR site Important salmon spawning ground Require pure, well-oxygenated cold water Indicators: abundance genetic diversity geographic distribution stage of lifecycle First ramsar site (in 1987??), this is an imporatn salmon spawning ground- 5 different species of salmon are found here. Important economically- many people in this area depend on fishing, culturally-since 60s “salmon day??”, for the whole food web-bears eat the salmon “see so many per mile…” Photo:

22 Controversies Related to Wetland Destruction/Ramsar COP 9 Policies
Mitigated wetlands Cross-border cooperation on ecological goals Photo:

23 1. Mitigation of Wetlands
Do constructed wetlands have the same quality as natural wetlands? Can compensate for wetland loss and restore formerly impacted wetlands Can require management for several decades Quality sacrificed for quantity Mitigated wetland might not reflect the characteristics of the natural wetland it is replacing Mitigated = resorting, replacing or creating ecological habitats in one area to compensate for loss of natural habitats in another area due to development

24 Past Losses and Mitigation

25 2. Cross-Border Resource Management
5 of 22 US Ramsar sites span state or international borders Cado Lake: see output 8 Map: Microsoft Encarta

26 Measuring the Success of COP 9 Resolution IX.4
Indicator Criteria Simple and pragmatic Capable of distinguishing the difference made by the Ramsar Convention Reflective of multiple variables Related to readily available information Serviceable by wide popular audiences Can also speak about these in relation to: Priority rankings for importance in respect of effectiveness of the Convention, Feasibility, Creation of an initial suite of indicators which span a range of key issues, Favoring initially some indicators which are generic or "umbrella" in character, and which are capable of incorporating elements from some of the others in the original list developed by the STRP. Photo:

27 Priority Indicators 2006-2008 Overall conservation status of wetlands
Water-related indicator(s) Overall population trends of wetland taxa Picture source: Source:

28 Future Monitoring Finalization of current indicators
Status and trends report: 2008 & 2011 Inclusion of more indicators Wise use policy Wetland services for humans Additional water-related indicators Picture source: Photo:

29 Conclusion Wetlands provide important ecological and socio-economic services Degradation limits their ability to provide these services COP 9 of Ramsar proposes several solutions to reduce wetland destruction and promote wetland conservation for sustainable fisheries Implementation of U.S. wetland conservation measures in conjunction with existing policy has improved management and monitoring of our nations wetlands

30 Acknowledgements The RAMSAR Group
Aimee Barnes, Emily Capello, Matthew Ebright, Emily Gaskin, Lauren Kell, Megan Stouffer, Rebecca Smith, Sean Mandel, Whitney Blake, Helen Morris , Flora Lee …and congratulations to all our fellow classmates for making it through the summer term!

31 Thank You Professor Cook!

32 Drivers of Degradation & Destruction of Wetlands
Aquaculture Agriculture Public Perception Urban/Suburban Development Photos:

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