The World Wetlands Day campaign helps reflect on the significant role played by wetlands in the ecosystem: Wetlands help reduce the impacts of flooding, act as a sponge when it rains by holding and releasing water to rivers. They also store carbon and are home to many plants and animals. They also provide a sense of place and refuge for birds.
They are also important because they protect our shores, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
The Ramsar site in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park is one of seventeen (17) in South Africa. The Wilderness and Swartvlei lake systems are situated on the Cape South Coast and form the core conservation area of the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park. The Wilderness system comprises three lakes (Rondevlei, Langvlei, Eilandvlei). The site in Wilderness includes a dune system with associated thickets, woodlands, marshes, and reedbeds. Important numbers of locally-migrant resident birds as well as staging and breeding birds use the site, which supports 285 native plant species, 32 fish species (several of which use the site as a nursery area), and a diverse marine invertebrate fauna. The lakes provide a major form of flood control.
See the Wilderness Ramsar site documented by Johan Rothmann: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3RXIFDTiDK7tpwzpWiqLgg
How can you help protect wetlands?
- By planting indigenous plants especially near a wetland could increase wetland protection?
- By not applying fertilizers or pesticides within ‘25 feet’ could also be protecting a wetland as this area would serve as a buffer zone?
- Join estuary exploration initiatives/ talks
- Join clean up initiatives
The People & Conservation Divisions (P&C) are hosting 500 learners from disadvantaged communities this month as part of the People & Conservation Programme. P&C Officer for Knysna, Nondumiso Mgwenya, explains this month’s focus will touch on wetlands every day. ‘Today learners explored Leisure Isle (Knysna)’s sandy shores, rocky shores and wetlands.’