Get Wet n’ Wild on 2nd February!

2012 World Wetlands Day on 2nd February is a cause for celebration! CIWEM urges the UK to visit your local wetland centres, woodlands and coastal areas to enjoy many of the benefits wetlands offer society, highlighting their importance economically, environmentally and spiritually.

2011 was a good year for the natural environment with a number of high profile documents being released in support of wetland protection. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) marked the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and continuing economic prosperity. This provided the evidence for the Natural Environment White Paper, the first for more than 20 years, which highlighted the importance of placing the value of nature at the heart of our decision making.

Both of these documents identified the many benefits of wetlands including recreation, flood alleviation, biodiversity and habitat diversity alongside the increasing pressures they face. Wetlands are very sensitive to subtle changes in water supply and quality, including acidity, nutrient levels and water table fluctuations alongside economic factors associated with population growth, economic prosperity, and increased demand for land for intensive agriculture compounded further by competing agricultural and environmental policies. 2012 looks set to be an increasingly challenging year, with drought forecast across the South East.

Effective measurement and consideration of ecosystem services will deliver significant steps in alleviating many of these pressures. However, this is problematic as precise figures for the current extent of the UK’s Wetlands remain difficult to calculate. Alongside this the delivery of their ecosystem services depends on their ecological condition and actual location within the landscape. More technical data is therefore required to manage this resource effectively. CIWEM offers support for this work and urges the wider public to demonstrate their commitment through visiting their local wetland reserves.

CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, says: “This year’s World Wetlands Day highlights the role of responsible tourism in supporting both wetlands and people. CIWEM urges the people of the UK to go out and visit a local reserve, helping to support the many charitable groups that run our wetlands and adding their voice to the message that wetlands play an important and intrinsic role to this nation’s well being”

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world

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