The vast peatlands of Borneo are being destroyed at record rates, leading to among other impacts vast carbon emissions. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Forget the groundhogs, February 2nd is also World Wetland Day, commemorating the historic convention of wetlands in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. The Ramsar Treaty was an international agreement meant to address the loss and degradation of wetlands worldwide.
Wetlands provide a multitude of ecosystem services to humanity including safeguarding unique biodiversity, buffering against flooding, acting as fish nurseries, purifying water, replenishing soil with moisture, and storing carbon among others.
Despite their importance wetlands face an abundance of threats including conversion for agriculture or livestock, draining for development, pollution and sewage, rising sea levels due to climate change, invasive species, and efforts to control wetlands with dams and dikes.
Jabiru stork taking flight in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil. Wildlife competes with cattle and other land-use pressures in this ecosystem. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
An aerial view of a herd of African buffalo in the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta. Photo by: Jeremy Hance.
Sunset in the Pantanal. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Wetlands near the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
A caiman waits in the Ilanos wetlands of Colombia. Wetlands are home to many unique species. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Lake Alaotra, a wetlands in Madagascar. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. Photo by: Jeremy Hance.
Sun setting in the Okavango Delta. Photo by: Jeremy Hance.