Current state of knowledge regarding the world's wetlands and their future under global climate change: A synthesis

W.J Junk, An. Shuqing, Colin Finlayson, Brij Gopal, Jan Kve't, Stephen A. Mitchell, William J. Mitsch, R.D. Robarts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wetlands cover at least 6% of the Earth's surface. They play a key role in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, harbour a large part of the world's biodiversity, and provide multiple services to humankind. However, pressure in the form of land reclamation, intenseresource exploitation, changes in hydrology, and pollution threaten wetlands on all continents. Depending on the region, 30'90 % of the world's wetlands have already been destroyed or strongly modified in many countries with no sign of abatement. Climate change scenarios predict additional stresses on wetlands, mainly because of changes in hydrology, temperature increases, and a rise in sea level.Yet, intact wetlands play a key role as buffers in the hydrological cycle and as sinks for organic carbon, counteracting the effects of the increase in atmospheric CO2. Eight chapters comprising this volume of Aquatic Sciences analyze the current ecological situation and the use of the wetlands in major regions of the world in the context of global climate change. This final chapter provides a synthesis of the findings and recommendations for the sustainable use and protection of these important ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-167
Number of pages17
JournalAquatic Sciences
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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