On February 2nd the world celebrates its wetlands – complex ecosystems that provide a wide variety of services and benefits for people and nature. Wetlands such as estuaries, mangroves, marshes, and swamps play, beyond their biological role, a key part in helping people cope with disasters. Yet wetlands are in danger; threatened with drainage for agriculture, degradation, pollution, and destruction at an alarming pace. With the rise in disaster frequency worldwide, this year’s World Wetlands Day recognizes the urgency for investment in wetland conservation, to protect people and enhance their resilience to disasters.
People and forests are connected. Study after study confirms this linkage, and it is known that hundreds of millions of rural people around the world either derive a portion of their livelihoods from the forest or are deeply dependant on forests in some way. Unlike measuring benefits from agricultural practices or other directly quantifiable economic metrics, measuring the benefits that people derive from forests is complicated and variable, and can make for uneven benefits calculations.