Our habitat highlight for March is freshwater wetlands!
Freshwater wetlands only cover about 1% of the planet but support 40% of the world’s biodiversity. These dynamic habitats support a range of species, from ducks, waders and other birds including rare bittern, as well as fish, rare moths, butterflies, otters, and water voles – our species of the month! Waterbirds use wetlands as stop off points during long migrations.
Wetlands can also reduce flooding risks by acting as sponges to slow down movement of rainwater to rivers, and some low-lying areas have relied on wetlands for centuries to prevent flooding. They also play roles in storing carbon dioxide (peatlands), and cleaning polluted water (reedbeds).
Wetlands are becoming increasingly uncommon, with many being drained to provide land for arable farm. Much of the UK’s reedbed, wet grassland and grazing grassland has been lost, and populations of breeding waders are drastically declining.
Look out for our species of the month coming next!