Wetlands Ireland

Why protect small freshwater wetlands?

Most of us don’t even notice small wetlands, we are almost not conscious that they are there. For some people wetland is wasteland and sometimes people will drain the water out of wetlands, or fill them in with soil or waste materials in order to get a little more dry-land.

The picture above is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), the species found in Ireland. The picture is courtesy of www.conserveireland.ie

The picture above is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), the species found in Ireland. The picture is courtesy of www.conserveireland.ie

But our small freshwater wetlands are full of life and brimming with incredible ecology. A typical small wetland will have dozens, or maybe hundreds, of species of plants and animals quietly existing in the water or around its fringes, and most of us won’t pay them even a second thought.

At www.wetlands.ie, we will try to bring you a little interesting information about the ecology of small wetlands, so that maybe, one-day you will stop and look a little closer at the magical web of life that can be found in any undisturbed wetland.
And there are thousands of them. You can find them in every county, all over the island of Ireland. See our page “Locations

Small wetlands are like little reservoirs of life. The plants and animals in the wetlands reproduce from year to year and sometimes they migrate from one wetland to the next. If one wetland is damaged by drought, by pollution or by drainage, plants and animals from the nearest wetland will come along and start the cycle of life all over again, restoring the damaged wetland to full health. Sometimes the wetlands produce life that migrates into the rivers and lakes and helps to balance the ecology in those water-bodies, as they try to cope with the pressures of pollution, droughts, floods and overuse.

wetland plantsBecause small wetlands are scattered throughout the countryside, they can act like pearls in a necklace, or like islands in an archipelago, with plants and animals hopping form one wetland to the next and in that way the ecological balance of the entire countryside is refreshed and replenished as the plants and animals move about.

And that is really important in maintaining a healthy environment across the island.

So, that’s why it’s important to protect even the smaller wetlands.