What Is wetlands?
Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the land, or where the land is covered by water. Once treated as transitional habitats or seral stages in succession from open water to land, the wetlands are now considered to be distinct ecosystems with specific ecological characteristics, functions and values.
According to most widespread definition wetlands are defined as: “lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water”.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands define wetlands as: “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres”.
Wetlands, natural and manmade, freshwater or brackish, provide numerous ecological services. The density of birds, in particular, is an accurate indication of the ecological health of a particular wetland. However, unsustainable use of wetland without reckoning of their assimilative capacity constitutes major threat to the conservation and management of these vital biodiversity rich areas.