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Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are treasures of nature, with abundant flora providing food and habitat for many species. They also control the eutrophication of waters by absorbing nutrients, much like a sponge. By building wetlands, we help the Baltic Sea as well as rivers and lakes. Eutrophication caused by excess nutrients is the biggest problem in the Baltic Sea. Our inland waters, i.e. rivers and lakes, are also affected by eutrophication, the most prominent effects of which are abundant cyanobacteria. Wetlands slow down the flow of water, allowing eutrophic nutrients and soil to settle on the wetland and absorb vegetation. A functioning wetland can retain up to 90% of the soil and nutrients bound to it.

Wetlands act as reservoirs of water during dry and dry periods and curb flooding after heavy rains. This is all the more important as climate change is expected to increase both in the rain and droughts. Unfortunately, our natural wetlands have been dried for decades for agriculture and forestry. Drainage has been gradually phased out, but it will take time to repair the damage to the waterways. It is reminiscent of the cyanobacterial blooms and recurrent floods.

Agriculture and forestry are also the major sources of man-made nutrient loads. The construction of wetlands can effectively reduce eutrophication nutrients from agriculture and forestry. Locally, the establishment of a wetland can have a very significant impact on the condition of a nearby lake, for example. Improving the status of inland waters always helps the Baltic Sea, which is affected by eutrophication, as much of the nutrient is discharged into rivers and streams from the hinterland.

Our partner project
Multi functional wetlands

WWF Finland works to build wetlands for the agricultural and forestry environment which, as its name implies, have multiple functions.

Learn more here

Our partner project
Wetlands checklist

Knowing where to start when building a wetland is not always easy. Luckily our partners have put together a wetlands checklist to help guide the process.

Get the checklist here

Our partner project

In this pilot project, WWF Finland are working to reduce the nutrient load from agriculture and forestry to the Baltic Sea in various catchment areas.

Read about it here

Our work
Baltic Farmer of the Year

WWF supports farmers who are prepared to go the extra mile in order to help save the Baltic Sea. The winners of the Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award have all taken measures on their own initiative to reduce nutrient runoff to help stop eutrophication.

Get to know the winners

Meat guides
Consume Sustainably

We have worked with our partners to help develop WWF Meat guides for consumers around the Baltic, that are tailored to their national markets and local biodiversity.


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Our work
Winning measures

We have worked with farmers to identify 12 measures that stand apart, not only for their ability to effectively curb nutrient runoff, but for their environmental benefits such as biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation.


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Last modified 12/10/20

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