Wetlands Biodiversity and Waterbirds

Wetlands International works globally to protect and restore the rich biodiversity of wetlands. Wetlands like marshes, lakes and coastal zones have on average the richest biodiversity of all ecosystems. Millions of waterbirds depend on them.

Wetlands International is the key global organisation for waterbird monitoring and for promoting the protection of waterbirds and their key habitats. Our organisation is also strongly involved in investigating and protecting specific ecosystems like peatlands and other species like fresh water fish.

Monitoring Waterbirds: International Waterbird Census
Wetlands International has a long history of success in engaging local people in species conservation. Thousands of volunteers help to monitor millions of waterbirds annually all over the world. We have several groups of scientists working voluntarily in our specialist groups to analyse all the information of the people monitoring waterbirds. Local populations across major bird flyways in all countries assist in waterbird monitoring. 

This is a major global programme, with waterbird counts organised in different regions of the world. All of them come regularly with publications showing the current state of the waterbird populations.

Promoting the protecting of wetlands along the flyways of waterbirds
Wetlands International is promoting the establishment of ecological networks of well managed, protected wetlands, along the main flyway routes of migratory waterbirds. These wetlands provide stepping stones for migratory waterbirds; crucial for their survival. Our organisation supports international governmental agreements to create these networks.

Improving the management of wetland areas
Most wetland types are not only rich in their numbers of plant and animal species. They also provide more than any other area precious goods to mankind. Our marshes, lakes and river areas are the providers of a stable flow of fresh water, fish, fertile grounds, building materials like timber and clay, and an area you can dump your waste in! Often, man is overusing these values. Globally, wetland areas are extremely threatened by human activities. Many species may even become extinct.
Wetlands International is promoting a more sustainable use of wetland areas. This will not only safe many species of birds, plants or fish, but will at the very end provide mankind with a more sustainable supply of water, food and building materials.

Good examples of this work are our activities regarding tropical peatswamp forests in South-east Asia, the peatlands and marshes in the mountainous areas of China or our work in the Inner Niger Delta of Mali.

BSO Biodiversity projects

Waterbird Population Estimates Database

The Waterbird Population Estimates (WPE) online database provides current and historic estimates, trends and 1% thresholds for over 800 waterbird species and 2300 biogeographic populations worldwide. This project has been developed by Wetlands International with the support of Environment Canada and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Visit the Waterbird Population Estimates Database

Towards integrating wetland biodiversity conservation with water and agricultural management in Ukraine. A pilot project in the South Bug River Basin

The goal of this project is to develop the foundations for integrating wetland biodiversity conservation into water related sectoral policies in Ukraine based on ecological network development and civil society engagement in a pilot project in the South Bug River Basin.

Wetlands biodiversity conservation in Ukrainian agricultural lands

Wetlands International organised a conference involving participants from the agriculture, water and environment sectors. Practical guidelines on biodiversity conservation in agricultural lands were published.

Development of a National Wetland Strategy and Action Plan for Ukraine

A National Strategy and Action Plan including strategic planning policies for integrated and inter-sectoral conservation, restoration and wise-use of wetlands and wetland resources in Ukraine was agreed and drafted. The national wetland directory was updated and amended. This is now awaiting formal endorsement by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukrainian.

Indicative map for South Bug meridional river corridor

The development of the ecological network in Ukraine has been enhanced by focusing on the Southern Boug meridional river corridor. A map on GIS basis and a poster has been prepared.

Project was financed by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in the Ukraine.


The Southern Bug meridional river corridor: biodiversity and valuable areas