Wetlands

Colin Finlayson, Stuart W Bunting, Malcolm Beveridge, Rebecca E Tharme, Sophie Nguyen-Khoa

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

Commencing with a summary of the current status, importance and productivity of natural wetlands the contribution of wetland ecological functions to sustaining vital ecosystem services is then reviewed. Provisioning services, notably fish and water for irrigation or domestic and industrial purposes constitute important benefits derived by humanity from wetlands, whilst recognition is growing that supporting, regulating and cultural services supported by wetlands are critical for sustaining social-economic systems and ensuring human well-being. Examples of wetland ecosystem services contributing to water and food security are highlighted and likely consequences resulting from disruption to stocks and flows of these services discussed. Wetlands are vulnerable to a range of anthropogenic pressures, notably land-use change, disruption to regional hydrological regimes owing to abstraction and impoundment, pollution and excessive nutrient loading, invasive species introduction and overexploitation of biomass, plants and animals. Natural wetlands have often been modified to accommodate agricultural and aquaculture production or wetlands may be created in the process of establishing farming systems and the resulting array of managed aquatic ecosystems are referred to collectively here as wetland agroecosystems.Prospects for established practices such as culturing fish in rice fields, culture-based fisheries and integrating aquaculture with livestock production or in water storage and irrigation schemes are critically reviewed. Apparent conflicts between agricultural development and intensification and wetland conservation are discussed and opportunities to reconcile competing demands are considered. Promising examples to guide the future management of wetland agroecosystems are presented and the importance of adopting an integrated approach to wetland assessment and ecosystem-based approach to wetland management is emphasized. Wetlands, whether classified as natural or agroecosystems, sustain a wide range of ecosystem services contributing to water and food security, but ecosystem services appropriation should be maintained within the carrying capacity of the environment, with adequate provision to sustain environmental stocks and flows and conserve and protect aquatic biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging water and agroecosystems for food security
EditorsEline Boelee
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherCABI
Chapter7
Pages82-103
Number of pages22
Volume10
ISBN (Print)9781780640884
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameComprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture series
Volume10

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  • Cite this

    Finlayson, C., Bunting, S. W., Beveridge, M., Tharme, R. E., & Nguyen-Khoa, S. (2013). Wetlands. In E. Boelee (Ed.), Managing water and agroecosystems for food security (Vol. 10, pp. 82-103). (Comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture series ; Vol. 10). CABI. https://doi.org/10.1079/9781780640884.0000