World Wetlands Day Is Celebrated on February 2

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This article was translated by Amairani Márquez 

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every February 2nd to commemorate the Ramsar Convention adoption in 1971, which designates wetlands of great value for their biodiversity and includes them in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Mexico currently has 144 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (also known as Ramsar Sites), and some of them are in Baja California:

  • Coastal Corridor La Asamblea-San Francisquito.
  • Isla Rasa.
  • Punta Banda Estuary.
  • San Quintin Bay.
  • Hanson Lagoon.
  • Humedales Delta del Río Colorado.
Photo by Laura Tamayo.

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are water bodies and transition areas between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems where the water is the main factor that controls the environment. They can be separated into two categories: coastal and inland.

Coastal wetlands, such as salt marshes, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs:

  • Act like shock absorbers.
  • Reduce the intensity of waves, storm surges and tsunamis.
  • Protect the 60% of the humanity, that lives and works along the coasts, from floods, property damages and loss of human lives.

Inland wetlands such as flood plains, rivers, lakes and swamps:

  • Function like sponges.
  • Absorb and store excess rainfall, reducing floods.
  • Store and release water, delaying the appearance of droughts.

Why are wetlands important?

  • Function like carbon sinks.
  • Nesting, feeding and reproduction of species sites, such as migratory birds.
  • Serve to deal with natural disasters.
  • Protect the coastal region.
  • Important sites for bird migration.
  • Great biodiversity places.
  • Recreation and ecotourism activities spaces.
  • Help to prevent erosion and flooding.
  • Have an important role in different activities, such as oyster farming and fishing.