World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. This is due to the commemoration of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran. Here the conservation and wise use of wetlands is agreed upon.
Why are wetlands so important?
Wetlands are ecosystems rich in biodiversity. Wetlands include mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries and seagrass beds, which are the most biodiverse environments in the world.
As for the flora, only 100 mammals live in dependence on the wetlands. Among them are shrews, hippopotamuses, otters, beavers, minks or muskrats. Also more than 1800 birds have this type of ecosystem as their home, such as pelicans, sea crows, ducks, geese and swans, etc. Among the amphibians there are more than 5000 species that have the role of bioindicators to consider the environmental quality of a biological environment since they are animals that are highly sensitive to changes in their habitats.
In addition to being home to many animals and plants, wetlands are important because they buffer floods. In effect, they act like sponges and absorb water from rainfall and rising rivers and then slowly filter that water through the soil. On top of that, they reduce the impact of waves and stabilize coastal areas.
In fact, being areas with soil saturated with water over time, wetlands retain and supply water, both for human consumption and for sustaining wildlife. Moreover, they provide food, materials and medicines, since the products extracted from wetlands can be fish, timber, firewood, vegetable oil, salt, medicinal plants, etc.
Wetlands in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica there are 350 wetlands covering 569,742 hectares, representing 7% of the national territory. However, only 12 of these wetlands are considered “Ramsar sites”.
Potrero Grande Mangroves
Tamarindo National Wildlife Refuge
Palo Verde National Park
Humedal Nacional Térraba Sierpe
Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge
Isla del Coco National Park
Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
Northeastern Caribbean Wetland
Mixto Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge
Let us always remember, but especially this February 2, that wetlands are ecosystems that must be protected and that are fundamental for wildlife and human life on Earth.