“For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.” (Sandra Postel)… How about we start learning & caring right now?
9 Easy Squishy Rules
To observe when exploring wetland habitats
Roaming through estuaries, marshes, swamps, bogs, or any land that qualifies as a wetland is a very special experience. Here we are giving considerations and requirements specific to these unique habitats—too often underrated but nonetheless extremely rich and fragile. Luckily, a little wetlands etiquette goes a long way in preventing damage to these amazing places. Keep in mind that the general EwA Wildness Etiquette also applies to wetland habitats and wildlife.
Knowing is Caring: Learn before you go. Explore wetlands well prepared so as to minimize your impact, and maximize safety for anyone (wildlife included) as well as for the pleasure of everyone. Enjoy!
Wetlands cover at least 6 % of the Earth’s surface. We know them by many names. Marshes, swamps, bogs, fens, moors, mangroves, everglades – all are wetlands with their unique characteristic features. There are many technical definitions, but basically, a wetland is some transitional land covered with water, either salt or freshwater or somewhere in between.
Ecologists had long identified numerous benefits of wetlands. Intact wetlands play a key role as buffers and in the hydrological cycle. They also act as sinks for organic carbon, counteracting the effects of the increase in atmospheric CO2. They host a large part of the world’s biodiversity, and they provide countless services to humankind.
They are also under tremendous human pressure on all continents, through habitat loss (e.g., from agricultural practices, urbanization), overexploitation, pollution. It is said that about 30–90 % of the world’s wetlands have already been destroyed or strongly modified in many countries with no sign of abatement [JW13].
It is now time to get to know more intimately our wetlands and protect them.
To protect the wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. The Ramsar convention was embraced by 169 countries and together they protect over 2000 designated Ramsar sites.
At an individual level, the best way to protect them is for us to go and see them while following good etiquette when exploring their many wonders, and then share our newfound knowledge with our friends…
1 | 🦀 Preparation rule: Know your wetland
2 | 🧡 Heart rule: Appreciate the habitat & the local regulations
3 | 👥 Group rule: Neither alone nor too many
4 | 🤕 Safety & Health rule: Suit up and 'cover' up
5 | 📐 Distance rule: Respecting wildlife's private space
6 | 👣 Let-it-be rule: Taking nothing & leaving only puddled footprints
7 | 🔕 Noise rule: Shh... tuning down
8 | 🐶 Leash rule: Loving our pet
9 | 💬 Act rule: Help when you can, challenge when possible, report when necessary
If you value wetlands, make it a point to visit them and take part in their conservation for future generations.
📚 References & Extended Bibliography
Sharing is Caring Share this etiquette around!
Home / Engage / Species & Habitats Focused Etiquettes / The Wetlands Rules
◊ Note that this Etiquette is and will remain a work in progress. If there is anything else you would like to see added, please let us know and we’ll do our best to include it. Let’s be Earthwise Aware. Let’s enjoy and protect wildlife responsibly! Thanks for your support!