Wetlands International is a global organisation that works to sustain and restore
wetlands A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevailing, especially in the soils. ...
and their resources for people and
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

. It is an independent, not-for-profit, global organisation, supported by government and NGO membership from around the world. Based mostly in the developing world, it has 20 regional, national or project offices in all continents and a head office in
Ede Ede or EDE may refer to: Places * Ede, Netherlands * Ede, Osun, Nigeria People * E De people of Vietnam Given name * Ede Dunai (born 1949), Hungarian footballer * Ede Kallós (1866–1950), Hungarian sculptor * Ede Komáromi (1928–200 ...
, the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

. The NGO works in over 100 countries and at different scales to tackle problems affecting wetlands. With the support of dozens of governmental, NGO and corporate donors and partners, it supports about 80 projects. Wetlands International's work ranges from research and community-based field projects to advocacy and engagement with governments, corporate and international policy fora and conventions. Wetlands International works through partnerships and is supported by contributions from an extensive specialist expert network and thousands of volunteers.


It was founded in 1937 as the International Wildfowl Inquiry and the organisation was focused on the protection of
waterbirds A water bird, alternatively waterbird or aquatic bird, is a bird that lives on or around water. In some definitions, the term ''water bird'' is especially applied to birds in freshwater ecosystems, although others make no distinction from seabird ...
. Later, the name became International Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB). The scope became wider; besides waterbirds, the organisation was also working on the protection of wetland areas. Later, organisations with similar objectives emerged in
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

and the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

: the Asian Wetland Bureau (AWB) (initiated as INTERWADER in 1983) and Wetlands for the Americas (WA) (initiated in 1989). In 1991, the three organisations started to work closely together. In 1995, the working relation developed into the global organisation Wetlands International. Wetlands International works in many thematic areas throughout the world, including the links between
peatlands , one of the largest fens in Estonia. A mire, peatland or quagmire is a wetland type, dominated by living peat-forming plants. Mires arise because of incomplete decomposition of organic matter, usually litter from vegetation, due to water-loggi ...
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
, as well as wetlands and waterbird migration, based on extensive research as well as field projects. It coordinates the International Waterbird Census, a large-scale citizen science project with decades of data.

Key areas of work

Currently, Wetlands International has four primary areas of work, which are:


Wetlands International's peatlands work is focused in Eurasia and southeast Asia. The peatswamp forests of
Central Kalimantan Central Kalimantan ( id, Kalimantan Tengah), is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level ...
are studied and worked on in particular for climate mitigation. The project Restoring peatlands in Russia is a joint-effort with the government and Greifeswald University, and was recognised by the
UNFCCC The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established an international International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". International may also refer to: Music Albums * ''International'' ...
with a Momentum for Change award in 2017, for storing up to 200,000 tonnes CO2e of carbon emissions every year by rewetting peatlands and preventing fires. In the severely degraded peat lands of
Central Kalimantan Central Kalimantan ( id, Kalimantan Tengah), is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level ...
(Indonesia), drainage canals and logging have had disastrous impacts in an attempt to convert the unsuitable peatswamps into
rice fields A paddy field is a flooded field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes * Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the infrastructure of an airport * Battlefield * La ...

rice fields
. By building small dams and blocks, the drainage of the area was stopped, preventing further oxidation of the peat soil. The area was then reforested with native tree species and community fire brigades to prevent the island's huge problem of peat fires.

China’s Ruoergai marshes

Previous work in China has included the Ruoergai marshes, and new work is looking at the
Yellow Sea The Yellow Sea is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of Saline water, salt water that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of Earth and contains 97% o ...

Yellow Sea
/Bohai migratory bird flyway. Runoff from the glaciers in the Himalayas towards China’s lowland is regulated and stored in the Ruoergai marshes. The Wetlands International China office worked to have this peatland declared a
Ramsar site A Ramsar site is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked toge ...
, giving the Chinese government the obligation to protect the area. Furthermore, because of the work with the local Chinese authorities in measuring the impact of different management options, peat mining and drainage are now no longer allowed in Ruoergai and the neighbouring counties. This also leads to improved water supply to the
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin: uə xɔ Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is ...
Yangtze River The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains The Tanggula ( Chinese:  ...

Turberas of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Tierra del Fuego #REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego #REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego#REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego Tierra del Fuego (, ; Spanish for "Land of Fire", formerly also Fireland in English) is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or i ...

Tierra del Fuego
, Argentina, the Wetlands International Latin America office built awareness of sustainable use of the peatlands from the local to the national level, which have contributed to their protection.

Coastal wetlands

Coastal wetlands such as
mangrove A mangrove is a shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Pl ...

forests and
coral reefs ''Coral Reefs'' is a quarterly peer-review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a prof ...
reduce the impact of storms. Mangroves can even cope with
sea level rise Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloqu ...

sea level rise
and provide protection from impacts of waves.

Dryland regions

In dryland regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, less rainfall and longer droughts increase the already huge importance of the
Sahelian The Sahel (; ' , "coast, shore") is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 milli ...
wetlands, and at the same time threaten
overexploitation Overexploitation, also called overharvesting, refers to harvesting a renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace th ...

of these areas. Wetlands International works in Mali to improve the livelihoods and water provision of communities in the
Inner Niger Delta The Inner Niger Delta, also known as the Macina or Masina, is the inland delta of the Niger River. It is an area of fluvial wetlands, lakes and floodplains in the semi-arid Sahel area of central Mali, just south of the Sahara desert. Location a ...
in a changing climate.

Biodiversity and waterbirds

Wetlands International works to protect and restore the rich biodiversity of wetlands. Millions of waterbirds depend on wetlands like marshes, lakes and coastal zones. Wetlands International coordinates a
International Waterbird Census
in most countries of the world outside the USA where it approximates to the
Christmas Bird Count The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a census of bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the ...
run by the
Audubon Society The National Audubon Society (Audubon) is an American non-profit environmental organization An environmental organization is an organization coming out of the Conservation movement, conservation or environmental movements that seeks to protect, ana ...
. The census takes place in 143 countries, divided into five regions, visiting 15,000 sites over 60 years.

Promoting the protecting of wetlands along the flyways of waterbirds

Wetlands International promotes the establishment of ecological networks of well managed, protected wetlands, along the main
flyway A flyway is a flight path An airway or air route is a defined corridor that connects one specified location to another at a specified altitude, along which an aircraft that meets the requirements of the airway may be flown. Airways are defi ...

routes of migratory
waterbirds A water bird, alternatively waterbird or aquatic bird, is a bird that lives on or around water. In some definitions, the term ''water bird'' is especially applied to birds in freshwater ecosystems, although others make no distinction from seabird ...

. These wetlands provide stepping stones for migratory waterbirds; crucial for their survival. Wetlands International supports international governmental agreements to create these networks.

See also

* America's Wetland Foundation


External links

Wetlands International
{{Authority control Wetlands organizations Nature conservation organizations Wetland conservation