February 2, 2023
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World Wetlands Day: Celebrating the Importance of Wetlands in New Zealand
Wetlands are some of the most important ecosystems in the world, providing vital habitat for countless species of plants and animals, and playing a crucial role in the global water cycle. They are also essential for the health and well-being of the people who depend on them, helping to reduce the impacts of flooding, purifying water, and supporting local economies.
To celebrate the importance of wetlands, the United Nations designated February 2nd as World Wetlands Day, a day to raise awareness about the importance of these ecosystems and to promote their conservation and sustainable use.
Why are wetlands so important in New Zealand?
Wetlands are a vital part of New Zealand’s natural heritage, providing vital habitats for many of the country’s unique and threatened species, as well as supporting human activities such as agriculture and recreation. In addition to their ecological value, wetlands play a crucial role in the country’s water cycle, helping to regulate water flows, purify water, and reduce the impacts of flooding.
Restoring native wetlands is an important strategy for improving harbor ecosystems. Wetlands are unique environments that provide a wide range of benefits, including improving water quality, reducing the impact of floods, and providing habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal species.
One of the primary benefits of restoring native wetlands is their ability to improve water quality. Wetlands act as natural filters that remove pollutants and sediment from the water. They can also remove excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can contribute to the growth of harmful algae and the decline of aquatic habitats. This can have a positive impact on the harbor ecosystem, as well as on the community that relies on the harbor for drinking water, fishing, and other activities.
Another benefit of restoring native wetlands is their ability to reduce the impact of floods. Wetlands act as natural sponges, absorbing and storing water during heavy rainfalls and releasing it gradually over time. This can help to reduce the peak flow of a flood and prevent flash flooding, which can cause damage to infrastructure and property. By reducing the impact of floods, wetlands can also help to protect coastal communities from the effects of severe weather events.
Additionally, wetlands are also known to play an important role in carbon sequestration, meaning they store large amounts of carbon in their soils and biomass, which can help to combat climate change.
On this World Wetlands Day, think about how you can improve and impact your local wetland.
We’re keen to help and if you’ve got a wetland you’d like to work on get in touch with us about our Navigator Projects, expressions are open until February 19th – https://kmr.org.nz/new-and-events/kmr-is-on-the-lookout-for-landowners-and-groups-who-are-keen-to-lead-a-change/