CIESIN Reproduced, with permission, from: Groombridge, B., ed. 1992. Global biodiversity: Status of the Earth's living resources. New York: Chapman & Hall.

Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites)

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat was signed in Ramsar (Iran) in 1971, and came into force in December 1975. This convention provides a framework for international cooperation for the conservation of wetland habitats. It places general obligations on contracting party states relating to the conservation of wetlands throughout their territories, with special obligations pertaining to those wetlands which have been designated to the 'List of Wetlands of International Importance'.

Each State Party is obliged to list at least one site. Wetlands are defined by the convention as: areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine waters, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres. Fig. 29.10 shows the parties to the Ramsar convention plus the locations of Ramsar sites around the world.