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Episode 6 · 1 year ago

#6 UK Species & Habitats: Wetlands (Part 1)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Hello and welcome back to NatureLab! Today's episode will be the first half of a two-part podcast! Dan and Max will be discussing the conservation value of UK wetlands in the first half. This episode will look at the importance of UK wetlands to ecosystems and cover why and how they are protected. We will also cover some of the future threats to wetlands and how our generation hopes to combat these threats!    

Welcome back to nature love, the show where we talk about everything and anything about nature. I'm your cohost Max, and today I'm joining this time, but just one cohost, Dan. Hey, guys, so today it's going to be a little bit shorter than usual, but do not worry, that there will be a second part. Today we're going to talk about the UK wetlands and how they're protected. Yes, Max is going to ask me some questions and what we don't want to know about the conservation status, some threats, and then we'll go over some conservation strategies as well. Yep, sounds like a plan. Okay. So, Dawn, I've got a question for you. Why, I'll wetlands so important to the UK? Okay, we'll first I'll just define what wetland is, just clarify forever on listening and then go into the ecology that as well. Yes, sounds good. So wetlands are areas marsh, Fan, petland or water, and they can be natural or artificial, and they can be static or flowing and they can they can be in fresh, brackish, salt or even marine as well, whether depth that low tide doesn't exceed six meters. This is really broad so if we...

...look at the classification, it helps a little. Sort of bogs, friends, petlands, and then each of these are subdivided as well. So classification is down to the hydrological processes, right, but what about the ecology of it? Okay, yeah, so so this actually our answers your first question as well. Wetlands have a number of services for the environments of society. A lot of conservation is driven driven from the carvent storage which has increased with common emissions, although changes in climates can make wetlands either sinks or sources. Some wetlands have also also up groundwater interactions as well. So wetlands offer flood protection by mistigating the water level, although the decline has reduced their value as a natural food barrier. In the north of the UK, wetlands provide feeding opportunity for wildflill and a breeding environment of the waders as well. So the Millennium Ecosystem assessment in two thousand and five highlighted number of services, all of variable depending on climate, topography and the soil type as well. Wow, so wetlands do sound really valuable to us in the UK. But what about...

...their distribution? Like what state are the another minute. They've been in decline for a long time. So currently they're being managed slightly better by the Ramsar Convention, which is an international treaty for protection. However, only ten percent of original wetlands are left in the UK. Agriculture has been in one of the main drivers of the decline, not just from the expansion but also from pollution. Some methods like peak cutting water abstraction cause wetlands to continue declining as well, so theyrend a lot of pressure. You said there was around only ten percent left, because this means that wetland dispribution is limited. Well, yeah, because of the decline. Currently, constructed wetlands are distributed around the Midlands, this and surrounding Editborg as well. Lowland raised bogs are the dominant type, although they're scattered across Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, and then Lowland Fen mainly occurs in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Studies are also focused on East Anglia for agricultural impacts on the original wetlands are left as well. So earlier you mentioned some frats, but just put everyone listening. What...

...are the main threats to wetlands? Well, apart from the obvious. We need to protect the lot we have left. So there are a lot of there are a lot number of threats mentioned. Agriculture expansion, which has been huge threats. Also pollution, which might confuse some people, because wetlands can be used to mitigate pollution or surface run off carrying pesticides, subsides and half for bacteria can alter the conditions, making them less superb for species. The National Archives in two thousand and sixteen reported in an inappropriate site management has also been clussed as the threat because a cultural machinery, grazing still being used. Methods like burning were also used in bogs to open up the structure of the environment, whatever that means, although this is an advice currently. They also mentioned drainage as well, which was used to make agricultural space and enhance climate change effects. Sorry now, however, drainage is used more in constructed wetlands to manage the water level. Then there's a big one as well, climate...

...change. With other men's wetlands been so specialized. Global temperatures increase of pretty large fact on the conditions, essentially making wetlands common sources rather than thinks. This also increases evaporation rates uttering the water table, which could unpack species relying on the conditions. So climate change ups as precipitation tends intensity again, altering water level and water logged habitats can contribute to the COEO two emissions. All these threats highlight and need for conservation. But, like me, and you could argue, everything needs protecting. But realistic we are, we have to pick up battles now. I think the level of degradation and the importance of wetlands as services definitely offers validation for their conservation. Yeah, definitely. But if this was one of them, like if there is there any conservation be done for the wetlands or and if there is, if there is, how is it done? WHAT MANAGEMENT ON MONITORING TECHNIQUES? How we use them? Well, it's pretty site dependent. There are organizations that push conservation and most wetlands are likely to have been designated as some of the protected habitats. So...

...either a wetland habitat near where I live back home and it's a site of special scientific interests of triple Si, but it's surrounded by hunting grounds, so that's not really ideal. I mentioned the Ramsar Convention earlier. As well, but there are also guides and documents produced that offer advice on management. These are more indirect type of management now. So there are some things in place, but I think conservation that makes makes the most impacts on site management in general. This is restoration and rehabilitation techniques, and this is where it comes siderpandent dependent. Some sites may require vegetation removal to reduce waterman another site may requit may require increased water levels. Then the species level management as well. That takes place a grazing and used to maintain diversity, since it prevents succession and competition, and this willow species to flourish. Conservation also involves monitoring and assessments. So the environmental impact assessments can be used to identify issues and determined...

...to potential threats. So, like climate change, it will identify any aspects that might be vulnerable. Study also highlighted the need spatial analysis when assessment, when assessing wetland, because this will determine the potential streats such as flooding. Then you have monitoring as well. This is used in the UK to keep an eye on the hydrology and Hydro Geology of the Habitat, and this has been encouraged by the runs of convention. There are also frameworks developed for project managers on monitoring methods. Also, population monitoring provides an opportunity to identify indicator species water quality, which can then be implemented in to the slite assessments, as modeling as well, where you can take past and present data and you can use it procheck the future of the site. Modeling would provide expected results which can then be contrasted to your current results as well. So wetlands are can serve three different types of legislation as well. So the rums are convention came about in one thousand nine hundred and seventy one, and this is just one example. There are others because wetlands are so diversely fall under so many different categories. So trustrial environmental laws, biological diversity laws and then water management...

...legislation as well. Okay, so there is conservation for the present, but what about the future? What challenges do you for wetland's face later on? Okay, well, there's definitely climate change, so temperatures increase ce level wise for coastal wetlands, and the precipitation changes as well temperature increase raises the most concerning peop box, for example. So increased temperature mic cause further degregation from lowering the water table and it caused them as spell it processes of decomposers. Potential increases. Sorry, the metal wellic process is a decomposers, potentially making the wetlands a corbon source. Increased climate intensity is also expected. Some models of showing the reduction in summer rainfall and the increased of vaporation or stress plant communities during the later summer early autumn, especially in the south and the used to the UK. The other main future challenges population growth as a incorporates a lot of other threats. Population increases usually correlated to a decreasing available and which means more people to feed, and so our culture industry is and more pressure...

...than the screage context, a conflict with nature for the available space. Urbanization in terms of land as well, has increased by around three hundred thousand hector since one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight, chording to deffer in two thousand and six, not only reducing one available but also increasing the resource system. And this results of increased with two two emissions as well, creating a negative few but feedback loop to climate change. Where is there anything that it can be done to manage or prevent these out oncoming threats? And if in implanning at least, well, there's usually general management plans. So the runs are convention aims to provide advice for future management, and there has been more effort to a quiet land and conservate with the intention of conservation, although it's emphasized that this is from multifunctional one use, which includes at agriculture as well. So multifunctional on use is one of the ways that these challenges is going to be dealt with, but this might require a trade off, although this is more feasible because it's compromise, there slightly implemented sooner. The National Environment Agency is actually working towards this, aiming to Scille benefits for both people on the...

...environment. Another concepts as well. It is constructed wetlands. These may not conserve the remaining wet lunds, rather provide an alternative. They allow for manipulation and there's lesser reliance on the climate. SOS found the store water management has been cost effective and when management properly, can provide central by diversity. They're also recommendations for the future. So the wetland vision for England attempts to define central areas for future wetland management restoration, setting out fifty eight one. Agricultural changes are also recommended, such as drout resistant prop varieties, improve water storage and avoid using mechanism cultivation on water look soils. But this queres convincing Londowners to change. So you're saying is that there is hope, but it doesn't sound very easy. Yeah, yeah, there's it's not it's hard not to be doing glue with conservation, especially concerning wetlands, from how much has been reduced. But yeah, there's definitely hope. That's good. Well, I...

...think we'll have to wrap it up here. I don't by anyone else, but I definitely understand more about wetlands now and how importantly actually are. But thanks for that and if anyone wants to learn more about wetlands you can go to the website stance mentioned or if you want to get gain involved vose and these episodes. Of You just want to ask any questions about the episode, make sure you followed at nature lab on twitter. That's at nature underscore lab and at night LUB PODCAST in instagram. But that as for today. Nature lab signing out.

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