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What are wetlands?

Wetlands are areas of the earth's surface where water is the main factor that controls the state of the environment and determines the living conditions of plants and animals. Wetlands are found in those places where the water mirror is on the surface, or close to the land surface. These ecosystems provide mankind with fresh water and help replenish groundwater. They are essential for growing rice and fish, act as a natural barrier against floods and drought, protect coastlines from rising sea levels, and help combat climate change. Wetlands serve a number of functions, including water purification, water storage, carbon, and other nutrient recycling, shoreline stabilization, and plant and animal support. Examples of wetlands occur naturally on all continents. The following five main types of wetlands are usually distinguished: ● marine (coastal wetlands, including coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs); ● estuaries (including deltas, littoral marshes, and mangroves); ● lake (wetlands associated with lakes); ● riverine (wetlands located along rivers and other watercourses); ● swampy (i.e. "marshy" – bogs on poor organic soils, swampy lands, and peatlands). In addition, there are anthropogenic wetlands such as fish and shrimp ponds, farm ponds, irrigated agricultural land, salinas, spillways, gravel pits, sewage lagoons, and drainage channels. They need to be protected to conserve the planet's biodiversity, as they provide habitat for 40% of all species on Earth. There are special non-governmental Wetlands organizations that deal with these issues.

What should I do if there are no NGOs dealing with the wetlands issue in my country?

There are only a few dozen Wetlands non-profit organizations worldwide that work to protect and restore these ecosystems in order to combat the problem of global warming. To a greater extent, they are active in countries where different wetlands are represented. However, there are also countries where there are wetlands that need to be protected by society, but where there is not a single wetland local organization. In fact, this is quite a big environmental problem. Since the beginning of the last century, the planet has lost 64% of its wetlands, with 40% having disappeared in the last 40 years alone. This is due to the expansion of cities, the growth of crops, and natural disasters. That is why it is important for each and every cared-for member of society to make efforts to draw the attention of the public and leaders of different countries to the necessity to take care of waterfowl habitats and the importance of wetlands in the ecosystem of the planet Earth. So what can you do if your country does not have any Wetlands NGO, but you are interested in becoming an active member of society in the fight to protect wetlands? There are several options for addressing this issue: 1. You can look for a wetlands international organization that is dedicated to wetlands protection at the international level. It may be able to help you find partners that are interested in your issue. 2. You can ask for help from organizations that protect water resources (rivers, lakes, seas, etc.). There is a chance that these organizations will be able to provide you with guidance on what to do and where to start in your struggle to protect your local wetlands.

How to Choose Nonprofit Wetlands Organizations

Although the choice of Nonprofit Wetlands Organizations is quite limited, the approach to finding the right NGO for you should still be competent and balanced. Why is this important? 1. A knowledgeable wetland specialist must understand both the fauna, ecology, and protection of wetlands, as well as the environmental law aspects. 2. The range of rendered services should include measures both for restoration of the marshes, fens, peatlands, or water bodies already damaged by human hands, and measures for maintenance and preservation of the existing wetlands. 3. Taking a proactive stance and finding new like-minded government supporters makes it several times faster to protect and enforce Wetlands Conservation regulations. If there is only one Nonprofit Wetlands Organization in your country, they should be the first point of contact. Further discussion of the problem and the joint search for a solution allows you to draw conclusions and decide whether you should continue to cooperate with this NGO or turn to similar organizations that work at the international level. If there is more than one Wetlands NGO within your state, then the choice is based on location, namely its proximity to you and the territories that the organization protects. So, sooner or later, you will find like-minded people and join forces in the struggle to protect the natural wealth of wetlands.

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