Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


On 28 February Forest and Bird Manawatu are leading a wetland trip as part of the “Seven Wonders” summer nature programme.

Date:  29 January 2010

The focus of World Wetlands Day 2 February 2010 is on two closely related aspects, biodiversity loss and climate change and what that means for wetlands and people. Various events are happening across New Zealand in February to provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about what is or could be done to improve the role of wetlands in mitigating climate change.

On 28 February, Forest and Bird Manawatu are leading a wetland trip as part of the “Seven Wonders” summer nature programme. They will visit both Pukepuke Conservation Area and the Manawatu Estuary, which is an internationally recognised wetland. Bookings for the trip can be made at the I-site, phone +64 6 350 1922.

Sunrise over Pukepuke Lagoon. Photo: Don Ravine.
Sunrise over Pukepuke Lagoon

A great place to experience a wetland locally is Pukepuke Conservation Area, a dune lake and wetland near Tangimoana managed by the Department of Conservation. This is an important habitat for freshwater fish, native plants, and over 60 species of wetland birds, including two nationally threatened species. An excellent way to learn more about this wetland is to have the full immergence experience and stay overnight in the house. Access permits, keys for the house and the bird hide are available for a small fee on request to DOC Palmerston North Area office, phone +64 6 350 9700.

There is plenty of evidence that modern living is causing unparalleled loss of species at the global level and that climate change is making this situation much worse. It is broadly accepted that an intact, healthy ecosystem, is usually more diverse in terms of its species than a degraded system and has higher economic value to humans because of the ecosystem services it delivers.

The ecosystem services from wetlands - such as water, fish, recharging of groundwater aquifers, water purification and waste treatment, flood control and storm protection, recreational and spiritual opportunities - are essential for human survival. We cannot afford for environment, social or economic reasons, to lose wetlands and yet we have been doing just that - a staggering 90% of New Zealand’s wetlands have already disappeared through human intervention. Loss of wetland habitat in Manawatu exceeds even this.

We need to do so much more to address the key drivers of wetland loss and degradation (drainage, pollution, excessive water withdrawals, and invasive species) and to continue to restore degraded wetlands. Wetlands are vulnerable to human-induced climate change but, if we manage them well, wetland ecosystems and their biodiversity also have a role to play in the mitigation of climate change.

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Margaret Metcalfe

Manawatu Base
Phone:   +64 6 350 9700
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   717 Tremaine Avenue
Palmerston North 4414
Postal Address:   Private Bag 11010
Palmerston North 4442
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