En more than two decades, the blue planet has lost 4,000 square kilometers of tidal wetlands, such as swamps or mangroves, as researchers discovered after analyzing millions of satellite images taken between 1999 and 2019. Sunday, June 5, Futura Sciences relayed the report of scientists from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) who are trying to assess the progress of this phenomenon. They believe that it would be largely accelerated by climate change and human actions observed in these areas. The area mentioned would be the equivalent of the Alpes-Maritimes department.
About three-quarters of the territories where the net decrease in global tidal wetlands has been observed are in Asia. Nearly 70% of these areas are concentrated in Indonesia, China and Myanmar. “Asia is at the heart of wetland loss due to direct human activities, which played a lesser role in losses in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Oceania, where coastal wetland dynamics were determined by indirect factors,” said Dr.r Nicholas Murray, senior lecturer and director of the Global Ecology Lab at James Cook University, who led the study.
The rest of the losses are attributable to human impacts on watersheds, economic development of coastal areas, coastal subsidence, global warming, but also natural coastal processes.
Massive new analysis of satellite images reveals that global tidal wetlands are moving and changing rapidly.
The data can help identify coastal areas most impacted and therefore in need of protection or restoration.@T_A_Worthington @jcuhttps://t.co/DZp2cjoWXA
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) May 16, 2022
Civilians, fauna and flora are to be saved
Scientists have found that nearly three-quarters of the global loss has been offset by the creation of new tidal wetlands where none existed before, with notable expansion in the Ganges and Amazon deltas. These results highlight the importance of large-scale coastal processes in maintaining the extent of these areas and facilitating natural regeneration.
“The protection of our coastal wetlands is essential to sustain the communities living there and for the overall preservation of our planet. These areas are the last refuge of many animals and plants,” alarmed the Dr Thomas Worthington, researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the study. “These data can help identify the most affected coastal areas, and therefore those in need of protection,” he concluded.