Wetlands: Key to a better future

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. The date marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Sustainable Livelihoods is the theme for this year's World Wetlands Day. This theme is selected to demonstrate the vital role of wetlands for the future of humanity and specifically their relevance towards achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals .
But what are wetlands? Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season.

Benefits of Wetlands.
Wetlands provide habitat for a wide variety and number of wildlife and plants. Filter, clean and store water for other ecosystems. Collect and hold flood waters. Absorb wind and tidal forces. Provide places of beauty and many recreational activities. Wetlands also act like sponges by holding flood waters and keeping rivers at normal levels. Wetlands filter and purify water as it flows through the wetland system. Many plants found in wetlands help to control erosion.

how wetlands workImage credit - Ivy Ferguson courtesy (School Teacher Trinidad)

Types of Wetlands

  • marine (coastal wetlands including coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs)
  • estuarine (including deltas, tidal marshes, and mangrove swamps)
  • lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes)

  • riverine (wetlands along rivers and streams)
  • palustrine (meaning “marshy” - marshes, swamps and bogs).

Examples of wetlands in Tobago

Bon Accord Lagoon
Argyle Wetland
Hope River Wetland
Kendall freshwater marsh