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mangrove swamp

What is a wetland?

The RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (1971) defines wetlands as "stretches of marshes, fens, peatlands, or natural or artificial waters, permanent or temporary, where water is stagnant or common, sweet, brackish or salty, including expanses of sea water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters. A poorly known and often poorly regarded territory, wetlands are the birthplace of countless animal and plant species, and represent invaluable environmental, socio-economic and health interests. The total area of ​​wetlands has not been accurately defined, but is estimated at 6% of the world's land area.

Wetlands, invaluable and threatened

During the twentieth century, more than half of the world's wetlands disappeared. We are witnessing a collective awareness since the 1990 years for their conservation and "reconstruction", but they are still very much threatened by intensive agriculture (and the use of fertilizers and pesticides), aquaculture, the adaptation of unsuitable water courses, urbanization, soil pollution, the multiplication of transport routes, etc ...

And yet, these territories are among the most productive in the world. Most birds, mammals (including humans), reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates depend on it. Not to mention the plant species, like rice that feeds a large part of the planet!
Thanks to their high purification power, they make it possible to filter pollution, reduce erosion, contribute to the renewal of groundwater, store carbon naturally, protect against floods and droughts. In addition to the value they represent for the preservation of biodiversity, wetlands are an essential source of income and well-being for many peoples (fishing, hunting, freshwater, tourism, salt production, etc.). ..).

The Ramsar Convention dates from 1971 and has been ratified by nearly 170 countries. Its purpose is to identify and protect wetlands of international impact.

Mangrove forests: CO2 wells to preserve!

It is only very recently that the importance of mangroves in global CO2 compensation has been highlighted. This ecosystem is a large storer of CO2, even more important than boreal, temperate or tropical forests. Deforestation of mangrove forests, which account for less than 1% of tropical forest area, could contribute more than 10% of global CO2 emissions from deforestation. Although reserves of CO2 in other types of tropical forests have been assessed, the amount of CO2 stored in mangrove forests is still largely ignored, even though these are present in more than 100 countries. It is therefore urgent to carry out actions of protection and reforestation of mangroves, but also ecological monitoring of these!

Learn more about wetlands
Wetland site

Eco-volunteering mission for the mangrove plantation in Lake Ahémé, Benin.

It is dedicated to the protection of wetlands for the benefit of the plant and animal world, and the indigenous peoples who depend on them (for example, fishing and hunting). The hosting project is a Beninese NGO whose mission is to promote human development at local and national level, through the development and development of natural resources, for ecodevelopment purposes. The program integrates local populations so as to enable them to develop a sustainable economic activity. This region of Benin, around Lake Ahémé, is dominated by the mangroves characteristic of mangroves. The avian and halieutic fauna is quite varied (71 listed fish species). The study area is full of exceptional assets: natural heritage, cultural ... But is also very fragile and vulnerable. The erosion of the shores of Lake Ahémé (favored by human activity) causes the silting of the waters and therefore an unprecedented decrease in fish productivity. In these territories, a large part of the population lives only by fishing. Without this trade, poverty only increases. While waiting for a possible dredging of the lake, it is important to turn to a new professional integration of fishermen: tourism (responsible please!). Because in this part of Benin, there are many tourists, but the local population is very little used!

The restoration of mangrove formations will restore fish habitat and contribute to better protection of the banks of Lake Ahémé. In addition, mangroves are important ecosystems in the carbon cycle acting as an atmospheric CO2 sink and a source of carbon for coastal areas. This reforestation program will be monitored and measured in order to highlight the carbon footprint of mangroves and to encourage more investors to adhere to voluntary compensation actions through mangrove plantations.

Ecovolunteers participating in this mission contribute to the planting of mangroves (collection of propagules (seedlings), nursery propagules, transplantation of young mangroves, monitoring planting areas with village planters. environmental awareness among local people.
See the mission of volunteering in Benin with Cybelle Planete

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