Greens all over the world will celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, commemorating the 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention). “Canada has already lost an alarmingly high percentage of our wetlands, including the disappearance of 65% of our salt marshes, and this destruction continues despite all of our knowledge about the importance of preserving these areas,” said May. “Wetlands have an enhanced capacity to store carbon and we should be investing in their protection.”
Ducks Unlimited Canada cites a 2006 research study by Euliss et al. (2006) finding that restoring Canada’s Prairiewetlands could sequester 378 Tg of carbon over a 10 year period. Potentially, this could offset 2.4 % of carbon dioxide emissions (from 1990 levels) produced annually in North America.
Wetlands are some of the most productive and bio-diverse areas on the planet. They will be key in mitigating the impacts of climate change but they are also vulnerable to climate change impacts. With the warming of the planet, small wetlands will dry up while larger wetlands will have greater fluctuations in water levels, leading to a loss of carbon sinks and release of greenhouse gases.
“Wetlands provide vital services to our society, preventing flooding, purifying our water, and offering crucial habitat for many species,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “It is so important to conserve as many wetlands as possible; they are immensely valuable.”