World Wetlands Day
Today, 2nd February, is celebrated the World Wetlands Day to commemorate the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Since then, 169 countries from all the world’s geographic regions have acceded to became “Contracting Parties” and 2.245 wetlands have been declared Ramsar according to their international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology, 215.029.188 hectares. Spain signed this treaty in 1982 and it has designed 74 wetlands on the Ramsar list, 303.090 hectares. The most well-known are: Doñana, the Tablas de Daimiel, the Delta del Ebre, Santoña, Gallocanta or Villafáfila. In the Balearic Island there are two: Mallorca lagoon and Eivissa and Formentera Salines.
Despite these figures, growing concern about these ecosystems or the fact that wetlands account for 45% of the value of all natural ecosystems on the planet, 60% of Spanish wetlands have disappeared in recent decades. Most of the Spanish Ramsar areas are in a serious situation due to alteration, exploitation or occupation among other impacts, although many of them also have other protection figures (National Park, Natural Park or Zepa). But if the state of conservation of areas of international importance is insufficient, it is much worse for those who don’t enjoy any measure or figure of protection or who don’t have this international importance.
Minorca doesn’t have Ramsar areas and any wetland of international relevance, but it has an important network of wetlands that provide shelter and resources to more than 50% of its biodiversity, which are winter quarters for thousands of European waterfowls, Which are primordial for thousands of migratory birds that cross the Mediterranean Sea or which give protection to breeding populations of birds as scarce in Spain as the Ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca, the Moustached warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon or the Purple heron Ardea purpurea. It is the work of all, to preserve them and to avoid that the threats that endanger the present and future of these island ecosystems disappear, and that in the future it isn’t necessary to celebrate the Wetlands Day because their conservation and rational use make it not necessary here or anywhere on the planet.