A major report that will help countries understand the economic value of inland wetlands, which cover a vast area of the earth’s land surface and provide key ecosystem services, was released at the conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity here on Tuesday. The message ofthe report is simply, ‘drain it, lose it.’
Inland wetlands cover at least 9.5 million sq km of the earth’s surface, and together with coastal wetlands, 12.8 million sq km. Restoration of this particular type of ecosystem is the most expensive. These water bodies provide clean water for drinking and agriculture, cooling water for the energy sector; they also regulate floods. Agriculture, fisheries and tourism sectors depend heavily on the health of wetlands.