Building a sustainable future
Linking wetlands with catchments
Wetlands Action's Functional Landscape Approach is balancing ecosystem services in wetlands and their catchments
Through opportunities for food production and through the provision of crafts materials, medicinal plants and sedges for thatching, wetland can help contribute to poverty reduction. In particular, many low cost and useful products can be made from wetland materials – such as sleeping mats, while wild plants and fish collected from wetlands can provide relish. For some households wetland can be a source of capital – from their market-oriented vegetable growing, for instance, and this can allow new enterprises to be developed – such as chicken rearing.
Wetlands can play a critical role in helping achieve food security by providing reliable crop production. Sometimes this is wet season production, but often it is supplementary dry season production which helps address “hungry” season food shortages. Wetlands are also critical sources of good quality water, from springs and shallow wells, that are essential for healthy living. By providing improved food security and safe water, as well as vitamins through the vegetables grown in them, wetlands can play an important role in improving the welfare of those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
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With global rises in temperature and the increasing unpredictability of rainfall, climate change has the potential to have a major impact on wetlands. However, wetlands can play a vital role in buffering the wider effects of climate change on the human population.
In many cases wetlands are seen as critical areas for conservation due their support of biodiversity, while in other cases they are recognised as important agro-development resources.