I Bless the Rains Down in Africa
It doesn’t know it yet, but that minuscule ball of down that just popped out of its shell into the world, running around wildly but never too far from the comfort of its parents, will start a grandiose 4000km-long journey crossing desert and sea in less than three months’ time.
Enduring the hardship of such migration and its viscerally frightening and too often deadly traps –hunger, predators, hunters– is not something one would wish upon one’s worst enemy. So the Collared Pratincole’s great journey across a continent and civilisations is an endeavour few of us will have the chance to undertake in our lifetime. Leaving the coastal wetlands of the Mediterranean basin on the wing, she glides above the pyramids to spend the winter in the heart of Africa, somewhere between the coast of Guinea and Ethiopia.
Each sighting of this delicate bird is a pleasure. In the words of Jean Jalbert, a conservationist from the Camargue wetland complex in southern France: “It’s a magnificent bird, a little bigger than a swallow. As it is building its nest on bare ground, its eggs are often submerged when the rice farmers flood the rice fields. Watching them feed above the marshes at sunset is a wondrous sight.”
Sadly though, our partner Tour du Valat, guardians of the Camargue, reminds us that “while the Collared Pratincole is not currently considered as globally-threatened by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature, the global authority on the conservation status of wild species), its precarious situation in France makes it a threatened species there.”
Coastal wetlands are home to a fabulous diversity of species. But between land-grabbing and Climate Change, we’re losing them at an alarming rate.
Life begins in wetlands.
Coastal wetlands have provided humanity with a wide range of benefits and life-enhancing qualities since the dawn of time. But now they’re disappearing at an alarming rate.
Our stories showcase Mediterranean coastal wetlands, the people who protect them, and the challenges they face.
Ghar el Melh, Tunisia. © Tarek KhatibWhy you should care about wetlands Wetlands, in all their forms, have belonged to our landscapessince time immemorial. And perhaps specifically because they have been an inherent part of our world for so long, it can be easy to...
Mediterranean Wetlands are vanishing, and we need them in order to survive. Help us #RestoreNature and wetlands today! Read More
2021: ahora o nunca para los humedales mediterráneos *Por las organizaciones miembros del proyecto "Mejorade la conservación de los humedales costeros en la cuenca mediterránea" El 2 de febrero se celebra el Día Mundial de losHumedales, y nunca ha habido un momento másimportante para que ... Read More
Quinel Mediterraneo abbiamo convertito e degradato le nostre zone umide per secoli e dal 1970 abbiamo perso la metà di ciò che restava. Read More
In the Mediterranean, we’ve been converting and degrading our wetlands for centuries, and since 1970 we’ve lost half of what remained. Read More
En Méditerranée, nous transformons et dégradons nos zones humides depuis des siècles, et depuis 1970, nous avons perdu la moitié de ce qu’il en restait. Read More
Island wetlands provide invaluable services right across the basin. They store and purify the water island communities need to survive, and they produce fish, food, salt, reeds and other economic materials. They cool hot summer air. In terms of biodiversity, island wetlands provide unique habitats for endemic and endangered species, as well as hosting some of the most important sites for birds in the whole of the Mediterranean, both native and migratory. Read More
Coastal wetlands are home to a fabulous diversity of species. But between land-grabbing and Climate Change, we’re losing them at an alarming rate. Read More
Since 1970, Earth Day has created a symbolic opportunity for all of us to remember how important it is to make sure we take care of the planet and its resources. The 2020 edition will focus on climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Read More
The Ancestral Wetlands of Ghar El Melh: Feeding the Mind, Body and Soul Have you ever taken a bite from a fresh tomato grown by a traditional farmer in Tunisia’s Ghar El Melh wetlands? It’s a delight for the palate – but it’s so much more than that. Behind this scarlet fruit lies an ancestral, ... Read More
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Wetlands offer holistic contributions to addressing the planetary crises through their various intrinsic functions and attributes – what scientists, and increasingly much of the concerned public, are now calling Nature-based Solutions, or NbS in our acronym-crazed world! Read More
“In the old times fishing began in September, now we start in March. Everything has been intensively exploited for decades, and we are now paying the consequences. The rain is irregular, the reeds die and some species become extinct because of the exceeding salinity of the water”, explains Danilo, a fisherman in Oristano. “We do our best. We respect the fish while it grows, we take care of the lagoon, it’s our home, but it is a bigger problem than us, and despite the subsidies we barely survive.” Read More
Wetlands & People: A Vital Connection is a short animated video, which captures the deep rootedness of wetlands in our lives, our souls and our history – and the way in which we humans increasingly threaten them. Read More
Collared Pratincole - Glareola pratincolaRead the article in FR | AROne flew over a flamingo’s nest As Europe plots the elements of the EU Green Deal, its specifics due out in 100 days, March 2020, and the Climate COP ends in Madrid, Off Your Map reminds our leaders that wetlands play a ... Read More
In coming decades the climate crisis will cause a rise in the frequency of catastrophic natural events. For the nearly 180 million people living in the Mediterranean coastal area, from Barcelona to Cairo, this means surviving an increasing number of extreme storms and flooding, and counter-intuitively longer-lasting droughts and less overall rainfall. Read More
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Each year on 25 September, Mediterranean countries celebrate ‘Coast Day’: this celebrates the importance of coastal areas as natural, cultural and socio-economic resources that contribute to sustainable development. Read More
ARRead this post in AR
At long last, the salt pans of Ulcinj Salina have been declared a national protected area! For the past 15 years, the Center for Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro (CZIP), partner of BirdLife, has fought tirelessly to block a controversial building development poised to destroy one of Europe’s most important migratory bird resting and breeding sites. Read More