Happy World Wetlands Day! In honor of this special day, we’re celebrating wetland biodiversity.
Wetland biodiversity matters! Why?
- Swamp vegetation filters pollutants, making water safe to drink
- Wetlands provide livelihoods for one billion people and help feed the world
- Peatlands store 30% of land-based carbon
- Lakes and rivers supply food and medicine
- Wetlands protect communities during storm surges & hurricanes
Wetlands are astoundingly rich in biodiversity!
- 40% of the world’s plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands
- Over 100,000 freshwater species have been identified in wetlands so far
- Wetlands are among the most biologically diverse places on the planet
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta (often called “America’s Amazon”) has more plant and animal life than any other place like it on the planet. Whoa! With record-breaking numbers of species of freshwater fish, turtles, and salamanders, these wetlands are truly a national treasure. At the same time, they are some of the most threatened and least protected. In fact, since the 1800s, about half of all extinctions in the continental US have occurred in the Mobile River basin.
Though wetlands are so full of life and are so important, they face serious threats:
- One million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction
- Species are declining faster than at any time in human history, and the pace is accelerating
- Climate change is making it worse
- Citizens, organizations, and governments are working to reverse the trends, but it’s not enough