Friday, July 25, 2008

Rising energy, food prices major threats to wetlands as farmers eye new areas for crops

EurekAlert: Critical food shortages and growing demand for bio-fuels and hydro-electricity due to high fossil fuel prices rank among the greatest threats today to the preservation of precious wetlands worldwide as farmers and developers look for new areas for agriculture, energy crop plantations and hydro dams.

However, resisting pressures to convert wetlands is vital to avoid destroying ecosystems that provide a suite of services essential to humanity, including safe, steady local water supplies, preserving biodiversity and the large-scale capture and storage of climate warming greenhouse gases, according 700 leading world experts concluding a week-long meeting in Cuiaba, Brazil.

The experts issued the Cuiaba Declaration (appended) July 25, the final day of the 8th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference, convened on the northern edge of the world's largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal.

Wetlands include marshes, tidal marshes, peat bogs, swamps, river deltas, mangroves, tundra, lagoons and river floodplains. Among other services, they trap and store carbon in submerged organic matter, sustain biodiversity, and produce renewable natural resources, such as fish, natural pasture, timber, and wildlife. The statement stresses the rising value of wetlands in an increasingly urbanized world, especially such services as water storage and purification, and recreation.

Wetlands are under assault, however, due to agriculture, grazing, aquaculture, dams, waste disposal, invasive species and other problems caused by human activity...

A wetlands in the Matra mountains of Hungary, shot by "Susulyka," Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

1 comment:

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