What Are The Ramsar Sites?
Ramsar sites are considered “Wetlands of International Importance”. As a member of the Ramsar Convention, England has designated 71 wetland locations within its borders as Ramsar sites. The complete list of these sites can be found in the chart published below. This article takes a look at how and why sites are selected, the importance of Ramsar sites, and conservation of Ramsar sites.
How and Why Are The Ramsar Sites Selected?
As previously mentioned, in order to designate wetlands of international importance, a country must be a member of the Ramsar Convention. This Convention was created in 1971 in the city of Ramsar, Iran. It is considered an international treaty with the purpose of promoting conservation and sustainable use of ecologically important wetlands.
Before being designated as a Ramsar site, these wetlands must meet the criteria set forth by the Convention. In total, the Convention identifies 9 criterion. The first of these requires that a Ramsar site be a representative, rare, or unique wetland in the appropriate biogeographic region. Criterion 2, 3, and 4 requires the presence of a vulnerable, endangered, or threatened species; the presence of a species that supports biological diversity; and critical support for a species during a specific life cycle or in adverse conditions. Criterion 5 and 6 concern waterbirds: a Ramsar site must host over 20,000 waterbird species or regularly host 1% of the population of one specific waterbird species. Criterion 7 and 8 concern fish: a Ramsar site must protect a significant portion of indigenous fish species and provide an important food source or breeding ground for fish. Criterion 9 says that a wetland can become a Ramsar site if it regularly hosts more than 1% of the population of a specific non-avian species that requires wetlands for survival.
Additionally, the Ramsar Convention outlines measurement steps that ensure each Ramsar site is properly preserved. One of these activities is that each Ramsar Convention member is expected to manage its dedicated sites in order to maintain their important environmental roles and conserve their biodiversity for future generations.
The Importance Of Ramsar Sites In England
Ramsar sites, and wetlands, in general, are important for both maintaining biodiversity and benefiting humans. They are some of the most productive environments in the world, providing many plant and animal species with the tools for survival.
The Ramsar sites in England are no exception to this. By setting these areas aside as protected habitats, the government of England has taken an important step toward plant and animal conservation. Additionally, Ramsar sites provide researchers with largely undisturbed environments that can be studied to further understand delicate ecological relationships. Ramsar sites, as well as other protected sites, require that developers ensure and demonstrate that projects will not have adverse affects on the wetlands.
The Conservation Of Ramsar Sites In England
The government of England ensures that Ramsar sites are conserved by prohibiting any human activity in or around the areas that might disrupt plant or animal species’ lives. In 2010, the Habitats Regulations was implemented in order to further define a strategic standard for the conservation of protected sites. The regulations include conservation objectives for each site and supplementary advice on how to achieve those objectives. This advice helps the public and private enterprises determine: the potential risk an activity proposes to plant and animal species in the Ramsar site, how to restore wildlife populations, and how to perform a habitat regulations assessment to prevent habitat loss and destruction.
Are There Any Ramsar Sites in England?
Ramsar sites in England include the Wash, the Humber Estuary, the Severn Estuary and the Dee Estuary.
The Ramsar Sites In England And Their Significance In Biodiversity Conservation
|1||The Wash||622.12||30 March 1988|
|2||Humber Estuary||379.88||28 July 1994|
|3||Morecambe Bay||374.05||4 October 1996|
|4||Severn Estuary||247.01||5 January 1976|
|5||Ribble and Alt Estuaries||134.64||28 November 1985|
|6||The Dee Estuary||131.31||17 July 1985|
|7||Foulness (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 5)||109.33||4 October 1996|
|8||South West London Waterbodies||82.8||9 October 2000|
|9||North Norfolk Coast||78.87||5 January 1976|
|10||Duddon Estuary||68.06||16 March 1998|
|11||Dorset Heathlands||67.3||1 October 1998|
|12||The Swale||65.15||17 July 1985|
|13||Somerset Levels and Moors||63.88||26 June 1997|
|14||Chichester and Langstone Harbours||58.1||28 October 1987|
|15||Thames Estuary and Marshes||55.89||5 May 2000|
|16||Solent and Southampton Water||54.15||1 October 1998|
|17||Arun Valley||52.9||16 December 1999|
|18||Mersey Estuary||50.33||20 December 1995|
|19||Medway Estuary and Marshes||46.97||15 December 1993|
|20||Broadland||46.23||6 January 1976|
|21||Lea Valley||44.8||9 October 2000|
|22||Blackwater Estuary||43.95||11 March 1992|
|23||Isles of Scilly||40.2||13 August 2001|
|24||Lindisfarne||36.79||5 January 1976|
|25||Pevensey Levels||35.78||2 February 1999|
|26||Stour and Orwell Estuaries||33.24||13 July 1994|
|27||Dengie (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 1)||31.27||24 March 1994|
|28||Colne Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 2)||27.01||28 July 1994|
|29||Alde–Ore Estuary||25.47||4 October 1996|
|30||Ouse Washes||24.69||5 January 1976|
|31||Poole Harbour||24.39||22 July 1999|
|32||Exe Estuary||23.46||11 March 1992|
|33||Benfleet and Southend Marshes||22.51||14 February 1994|
|34||Hamford Water||21.87||8 June 1993|
|35||Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay||21.69||28 July 1994|
|36||Minsmere-Walberswick||20.19||5 January 1976|
|37||Crouch and Roach Estuaries (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 3)||17.36||24 March 1995|
|38||The New Forest||16.12||22 September 1993|
|39||Midland Meres and Mosses (Phase 2)||15.88||2 February 1997|
|40||Nene Washes||15.17||5 March 1993|
|41||Avon Valley||13.85||2 February 1998|
|42||Rutland Water||13.6||4 October 1991|
|43||Portsmouth Harbour||12.49||28 February 1995|
|44||Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast||12.47||15 August 1995|
|45||Breydon Water||12.03||29 March 1996|
|46||Northumbria Coast||11.08||2 February 2000|
|47||Deben Estuary||9.79||11 March 1996|
|48||Lower Derwent Valley||9.15||17 July 1985|
|49||Irthinghead Mires||7.92||17 July 1985|
|50||Chesil Beach and The Fleet||7.48||17 July 1985|
|51||Abberton Reservoir||7.26||24 July 1981|
|52||Pagham Harbour||6.37||30 March 1988|
|53||Midland Meres and Mosses (Phase 1)||5.11||9 May 1994|
|54||Stodmarsh||4.81||16 December 1993|
|55||Gibraltar Point||4.14||5 March 1993|
|56||Malham Tarn||2.86||28 October 1993|
|57||Thursley and Ockley Bog||2.65||14 February 1994|
|58||Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits||2.65||7 April 2011|
|59||Upper Solway Flats and Marshes||2.65||1 October 1986|
|60||Wicken Fen||2.54||12 September 1995|
|61||Woodwalton Fen||2.08||12 September 1995|
|62||Roydon Common||1.94||5 March 1993|
|63||Dersingham Bog||1.58||12 September 1995|
|64||Esthwaite Water||1.37||7 November 1991|
|65||Leighton Moss||1.29||28 November 1985|
|66||Redgrave and South Lopham Fens||1.27||15 February 1991|
|67||Martin Mere||1.2||28 November 1985|
|68||Chippenham Fen||1.12||11 March 1992|
|69||Rostherne Mere||0.8||24 July 1981|
|70||Walmore Common||0.53||5 December 1991|
|71||Holburn Lake and Moss||0.28||17 July 1985|
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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