China’s Wetland Crisis

Since the end of World War Two, the world has lost approximately 50% of its mangroves. A few pockets remain in protected areas, such as those in the southern Chinese city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province. Image by Sean Gallagher, China, 2010.

Wetlands are found on every continent on earth, as rivers, shallow lakes, swamps, mangroves, estuaries and floodplains. They are valued for their ability to store floodwaters, protect shorelines, improve water quality and recharge groundwater aquifers.

China's wetlands cover some 650,000 square kilometres, ranking first in Asia and representing 10% of the world's total. A quiet crisis is occurring, however, as these important waters are quickly disappearing.

As a result of China's rapid economic growth, coupled with climate change, vast swaths of China's wetlands have already vanished, resulting in serious consequences for the millions of people across the country who rely on these sources of water.

View the full article and slideshow at China Dialogue.