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.