World Wetlands Day

Why should you care about wetlands?

February 2 is World

Wetlands Day

There are people all over the world
working for wetlands. On World
Wetlands Day,
celebrated on February 2 each year, these people
collectively stand up and proclaim the benefits of wetlands.

Why should you care
about wetlands?

There is a connection
between a healthy wetland eco-system and human health.
In the developing world, 1 in 5 people do not have access to clean drinking
water. Poor management strategies that support the health of wetland
eco-systems can affect the health of humans, with wetland-related diseases
claiming the lives of 3 million people each year and bring suffering to many
more. It is estimated that 1.4 billion people live in water basins where water
uses exceed sustainable levels.

From the
cypress swamps, pine bogs, pocosins and longleaf pine savannas to the
alligators and the unique Venus fly trap, the Middle Atlantic Coastal Forests
are home to a rich and diverse swath of the natural world. Indeed this diversity
of life is of national and global significance.

Make your own connection by learning the facts about the benefits of wetlands.
In the United States,
the Cypress Swamps (swamps are one of many wetland types) in Florida can remove 98%
of the nitrogen and 97% of the phosphorus pollution preventing
contamination in the groundwater

The wetlands provide a low-cost way to treat the
community’s wastewater, while simultaneously functioning as a quality wildlife
sanctuary, with public access, as is done at the successful and popular Arcata
Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary.
” (City of Petaluma, California)


the most important special community across the region is the forested wetlands
which are extremely important ecological communities. Home to such a rich diversity
of species, according to the most recent satellite based mapping eff orts,
approximately 30 percent of the ecoregion is in either woody or herbaceous

the National Wetlands Inventory, which is based on more detailed aerial
photography and ground mapping, puts the ecoregion percentage closer to 42 percent.
Many of the larger, more intact wetlands are in public ownership, and wetland
cover diff ers among the three mill sourcing zones. Th e Franklin sourcing region contains the most
wetlands (5,671,194 ac) according to the National Wetlands Inventory.
Riegelwood was second with 4,440,712 ac and Augusta last with 2,881,871 ac. While
according to the US Forest Service industrial forestry and the conversion of
these forested wetlands into pine plantation has been the leading cause of the
loss of these systems, important examples remain. These extremely important
communities should be included in a High Conservation Value or Endangered Forest assessment.


Cypress forest, NE North CarolinaBottomland or wetland forests historically dominated the ecoregion
with species such as Atlantic white cedar, bald cypress, and swamp tupelo.
Logging interests for many decades targeted forests dominated by bald cypress
and Atlantic white cedar, and few old-growth forests of this type remain. Bald
cypress is a very slow growing species but long-lived (e.g., trees that are
hundreds of years old or more are common in pristine bald cypress forests).
White cedar has been all but eliminated in Virginia (the Great Dismal Swamp was once a
stronghold for this important species) and approximately 90 percent has been
lost in

North Carolina. Most of the remaining bottomland (or swamp) forests are
associated with the numerous and extensive tidal river systems or in a few
larger, non-linear areas (e.g., Great Dismal Swamp) even though most of those
have been seriously degraded.


Ditched and Drained, SE North CarolinaThe
impacts of industrial forestry on the region are longstanding and severe.
Indeed according to the US Forest Service Southern Forest Resource Assessment,
the leading cause of the loss of forested wetlands across the region and the
South has been conversion of those natural forests into industrial pine
plantations. This process of “ditching and draining” results in the total loss
of that habitat.

Send a message to the companies
buying their paper packaging from Southern forests, including forested
Instead of using
Southern forests for disposable packaging, these companies can make better
decisions including:

1. Post-consumer recycled content should be maximized in
all paper products, because multiple life-cycle analyses clearly show that
recycled fiber saves resources and limits pressure on natural forests.
2. Southern Forests are too important to waste in
packaging. Increase packaging efficiency and reduce overall packaging.
3. Avoid sourcing paper originating from endangered forests-those
remaining natural areas with extremely high conservation values must be
4. Avoid sourcing paper originating from the conversion
of natural forests to plantations.
5. Source paper from lands certified by the Forest
Stewardship Council – the only certification that limits large-scale
clear-cutting, prohibits the conversion of forests to plantations and requires
the protection of high conservation value forests.

Click here to send your message.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>