Despite only covering around 6% of the earth's surface, wetlands are home to around an incredible 40% of plant and animal species. There are many types of wetlands, including saltmarshes, estuaries, ponds, lagoons, and wet grasslands.
Here are a few to explore in Sussex:
- Chichester Harbour – Saltmarsh
- Pagham Harbour – Estuarine Basin
- River Adur (Shoreham) – Saltmarsh & Mudflat
- Rye Harbour nature reserve – Saltmarsh
- Wildwater Lagoon (Lancing) – Lagoon
- Pevensey Marshes – Wet grassland
A global promise
‘The Convention of Wetland' or ‘Ramsar Convention' is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands – this is a promise between different countries to take care of their wetlands, with the convention officially signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. World Wetlands Day now takes place on 2nd February, named by the United Nations.
They are good for people and planet
Wetlands are full of beauty and wildlife, but they are also great for our health and wellbeing. Taking a walk by a wetland area can ease levels of anxiety, stress, and depression due to the serene surroundings and cleaner air.
The plant life that grows in wetlands helps to store and absorb carbon, reducing the air pollution - this is great for our heart and lung health and helps combat climate change.
Wetlands also naturally reduce flood risk as they store and absorb water, then slowly let it back out. Many coastal towns are restoring wetland areas to help combat the increase in flood risk due to our changing climate.
We are fortunate in Sussex to have so many wetland areas to explore, but you'll find them all over the UK, especially coastal areas.