The theme for World Wetlands Day 2021 is ‘Wetlands and Water’. Wetlands provide ecosystem services that contribute to the wellbeing of people and our planet.
Water supply and quality
Wetlands can maintain and improve water quality. When healthy, wetlands have a rich natural diversity of plants and animals. They act as filtering systems, removing sediment, nutrients and pollutants from water.
Australia’s wetlands are home to a diverse range of species. Many species rely on wetlands for their survival.
Many Australian wetlands are important feeding grounds for migratory waterbirds. They fly from the Arctic each year.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Wetlands reduce the impacts of a changing climate by capturing and storing carbon. They also moderate the impact of climate-related hazards.
Resilience to natural hazards
Under projected climate change scenarios, extreme climatic events, including floods, droughts and storms, are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. Wetlands can lessen the impacts of these events.
- Valuation of disaster risk reduction ecosystem services of Australia’s coastal wetlands
- Wetlands Australia – February 2017 (theme of disaster risk reduction)
In Australia, our wetlands help keep our landscapes healthy and productive. They support industries such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism.
For Australia’s first people, the land and sea and all that connects them are the source of identity, spirituality, culture, economy and wellbeing.
Tourism and recreation
Wetlands and their wildlife are key to tourism. They offer amazing landscapes, opportunities for trekking and birdwatching and unique cultural experiences. Local wetlands also offer important sites for recreation, including swimming, boating, fishing and hiking. Well-managed and sustainable tourism can bring economic and environmental benefits.
What we can do to help
Laws help protect water, native species and major wetlands. Local government planning controls also protect local wetlands.
Local groups help restore and maintain local wetlands. Landholders, farmers and land managers contribute to the wise use of wetlands.
Local wetland education centres highlight the value of wetlands. They encourage visitors to enjoy them.
- Find and visit your nearest Ramsar-listed site and wetlands education centre.
- Become a citizen scientist. Help gather vital information about wetlands, and the habitats and biodiversity they support.
- Get involved in local wetland conservation activities. Contact Landcare, catchment management authorities and friends-of groups.
- Take part in World Wetlands Day on 2 February.