Trends in the ecological character of the world's wetlands

N. C. Davidson, L. Dinesen, S. Fennessy, C. M. Finlayson, P. Grillas, A. Grobicki, R. J. McInnes, D. A. Stroud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed trends in the ecological character of wetlands generally and of Ramsar Sites reported in 2011, 2014 and 2017 by the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in their national reports. There was more widespread deterioration than improvement in the ecological character of wetlands generally, with deterioration increasingly more widespread between 2011 and 2017. The ecological-character trends in Ramsar Sites were significantly better than those of wetlands generally, but an increasingly more widespread deterioration of ecological character was reported between 2011 and 2017. Trends in the ecological character of wetlands generally, and of Ramsar Sites were worst in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, and recently also in Oceania, and better in North America and Europe. Deterioration in the ecological character of Ramsar Site was more widespread in countries with a large average area of their Ramsar Sites. This information on trends of wetland ecological character can contribute to assessing the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Target 6.6 and Aichi Biodiversity Target 5. Our analysis indicated that the 1971 aim of the Ramsar Convention to stem the degradation of wetlands has not yet been achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number1
Early online date03 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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