why are freshwater habitats important

Importance of freshwater habitats. Estuaries are important natural places. Freshwater wetlands. We rely on rivers for drinking water, irrigation, and more. Some of these are unique to New Zealand and often highly specialised to the habitats they are found in. Why are wetlands important? Freshwater wetlands are an important habitat for fish, invertebrates, plants, and birds. Freshwater biodiversity is the over-riding conservation priority during the International Decade for Action – ‘Water for Life’ – 2005 to 2015. Only 3% of the world's water is freshwater; that's all we have for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Fresh water makes up only 0.01% of the World's water and approximately 0.8% of the Earth's surface, yet this tiny fraction of global water supports at least 100000 species out of approximately 1.8 million – almost 6% of all described species. However, freshwater species are going extinct more rapidly than terrestrial or marine species. 44% of Scotland’s internationally important blanket peat bog was lost to afforestation and drainage from the 1940s to the 1980s. Over 10% of our freshwater and wetland species are threatened with extinction in the UK, and we’ve lost 90% of our wetland habitats in the last 100 years. In addition to essential habitats for birds, fish, insects, and other wildlife, estuaries provide goods and services that are economically and ecologically indispensable, such as commercial fishing and recreational opportunities. Freshwater ecosystems contribute to biodiversity, the economy, recreational opportunities, cultural significance and our well-being. Access to fresh water is also important for economic development. A pond can be defined as a body of water (normally fresh water, but occasionally brackish), which can vary in size between 1 square meter and 2 hectares (this is equivalent in size to about 2.5 football pitches), and which holds water for four months of the year or … The reasons for this dramatic loss include unsustainable farming and development practices, urbanisation and … Freshwater environments have been mismanaged, leading to pollution, drying rivers and damaged habitats. In the last century we’ve lost so many of the world’s wetlands and their wildlife. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or a stream. Why are freshwater habitats important? The wetlands support a diversity of plant communities including trees, rushes, reeds, or floating and submerged aquatic plants. We believe it’s possible to meet the freshwater needs of both people and nature – if water is managed wisely. They provide feeding, spawning and/or nursery areas for many species of freshwater fish. For example, freshwater sources enable the development of fisheries. Over 140,000 described species – including 55% of all fishes – rely on freshwater habitats for their survival. Wetlands are valuable for flood protection, water quality improvement, shoreline erosion control, natural products, recreation, and aesthetics. People around the world harvest fish from these habitats, providing enough animal protein to feed 158 million people worldwide. Providing a home for fish, plants, animals, and people, rivers are essential for the survival of many species—including our own. Conservation for wildlife Species diversity. Freshwater species are important to local ecosystems, provide sources of food and income to humans and are key to flood and erosion control. * Sources include State of Nature 2013, Wildlife Trusts and Freshwater Habitats Trust. Freshwater habitats are extremely important to humans. Freshwater is used by a wide variety of native plants and animals. Freshwater habitats face a multitude of threats, but it's not too late to save these environments.

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