World Wetlands Day celebrated on February 2 annually provides a platform to raise awareness about wetlands. Four young people, 2 of them are People and Conservation Officers from Knysna (Nondumiso Mgwenya, NM) and Wilderness (Phumla Nyathikazi, PN) share more information about wetlands.
Why are wetlands so important?
NM: They have a variety of ecological and economic benefits. These include the provision of ecosystem services, the regulation of flood water. They are home to a variety of animal and plant species. They are like a giant sponge, holding water in during wet seasons and slowly releasing it during dry periods, ensuring a consistent supply of water for the inhabitants of the wetland.
What is a Ramsar site?
PN: It is a wetland of global significance and has to fit a selective criteria set by the Ramsar Convention, a global body overseeing the management of wetlands. In Rondevlei for example, where we are, there is a diverse population of bird and fish species. We have 20 000 migratory species which come to the site and leave during periodic seasons.