Wetland values, status and trends

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Systematic knowledge on wetlands values and status and trends form the basis of sound decision making on wetlands.

We work to bridge the knowledge barrier that limits integration of wetlands in policies, programmes and actions.

Wetlands within South Asia exhibit enormous diversity owing to differences in their genesis, geographical location, hydrological regimes and climatic factors. The complex development dynamics in the region, coupled with limited awareness on the contribution wetlands make to societal well-being, has led to severe pressure on these ecosystems.

Assessments carried on Indian natural wetlands indicate that atleast one third of natural wetlands have been lost in the last three decades alone. In Sri Lanka, 28% of the mangroves were lost during 1980-2000, conversion to shrimp farms accounting for over one third of the change. Construction of hydraulic structures has been one of the key reasons for fragmentation of the floodplain systems in the Ganges and the Indus river basins in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Reduced freshwater flows and changes in hydrological regimes are key causative factors for changes in composition of mangrove species composition in Sindh Delta, Sunderbans and Pitchavaram.

We work to bridge the knowledgebase gaps that exists on values and status and trends of wetlands in South Asia. We assist wetland managers in applying hierarchical wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring system to support adaptive management.

The management plans prepared by us include a comprehensive collation of status and trends of Ramsar Sites. We have also implemented projects on assessment of ecosystem services and transforming these values into monetary terms to enable comparison with development options that are often evaluated in such terms. We also conduct management effectiveness assessment to help wetland managers assess the degree to which management being applied is strategic and delivering intended ecological and livelihood outcomes.