5 Ways Wetlands are Crucial to Climate Change Adaptation

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Global Center on Adaptation

Wetlands stabilize coastlines, buffer against extreme weather events, and reduce the risk of soil erosion. On World Wetlands Day, we are highlighting the important role wetlands play in adaptation and climate action.

Wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate all over the world: three times faster than forests. These areas of land that are partially or totally covered with water – permanently or seasonally – include marshes, swamps and bogs. Along with coral reefs and rainforests, wetlands are among the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems.

“Healthy wetlands are biodiversity hotspots that can greatly contribute to building climate resilience and are efficient in sequestering carbon in its soil and biomass. Wetlands are nature-based solution constructed and maintained by nature itself. However, between 1970 and 2015, approximately 35 percent of the world’s wetlands were lost, and the destruction of wetlands is accelerating,” said Joep Verhagen, Program Lead of GCA’s Water and Urban Team.

World Wetlands Day, celebrated today for the first time as a United Nations international day, aims to save the world’s wetlands and raise awareness about their crucial role for the planet. In this spirit, and as the only international organization dedicated exclusively to climate adaptation, we are highlighting just how important wetlands are to adaptation and climate action:

1. Wetlands are Fresh Water Stores

Wetlands absorb excess water and precipitation, which means they are nature’s disaster management systems, helping with flood alleviation, a necessity considering the devastating floods that have wreaked havoc around the world in recent years. Wetlands, including underground aquifers and man-made reservoirs, also provide water storage and purification through the plants and microorganisms that they house, a magnificent adaptive quality, particularly in countries that face long periods of drought.

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