Ontario’s wetlands are emerging as the unsung heroes of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Their protection and restoration are exceptionally effective nature-based solutions for addressing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
To help build awareness of the climate benefits that wetlands provide, Ontario Nature has released two new resources – an online primer and a corresponding brochure. We hope that members, supporters and conservationists will use and share these resources to strengthen the case for wetland protection and restoration.
The primer and brochure highlight three key climate mitigation and adaptation benefits:
Carbon storage: Wetlands accumulate large amounts of carbon in soils and plant matter, mitigating climate change by reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Flood mitigation: Like sponges, wetlands can absorb and store excess water, thereby mitigating the impacts of heavy rainfall and storms.
Biodiversity support: Wetlands provide habitat for a wide range of species, including many species at risk, enhancing resilience and aiding in climate adaptation.
The brochure provides a high-level and eye-catching introduction to these three benefits, in an easy-to-share online format. It was designed in partnership with members of our provincial Youth Council who helped to ensure a clear and compelling message.
For those who want to learn more, the primer expands upon on the wide range of wetland functions and values, showcasing how wetland conservation and restoration contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also offers a wealth of additional resources for those who want to dive even deeper.
The key take-home is clear: in the face of spiralling climate change impacts and accelerating biodiversity loss, we must protect and restore Ontario’s remaining wetlands.
Fortunately, support for nature-based climate solutions is growing. Given Ontario’s significant contribution to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and the sheer abundance of wetlands in the province, there is both a responsibility and a great opportunity to maintain and enhance the climate benefits of these valuable ecosystems. We trust the primer and brochure will support efforts to educate community leaders and positively influence land use planning and development decisions.
Ontario Nature’s wetland initiative, including the creation of the primer and brochure, is generously supported by the Greenbelt Foundation, the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation, the McLean Foundation and the John and Pat McCutcheon Charitable Foundation.
Samara Manzin (she/her) worked for Ontario Nature as a Wetland Conservation Intern in Spring 2023. She is passionate about biodiversity conservation and loves being outdoors surrounded by nature, hiking, reading and soaking up the sun.