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2010-05-26 | Policy Brief

Water quality amelioration value of wetlands

Turpie, Jane. 2010. “Water quality amelioration value of wetlands.” Environmental Policy Research Unit
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Wetlands play a significant role in removal of organic agricultural pollutants from rivers. A study conducted in the Western Cape, South Africa, shows that small wetlands can play a significant cumulative role in the amelioration of the quality of water emanating from their catchment areas, and that the value of this service is high enough to warrant their protection.

Wetlands are among the most threatened habitats globally, and in spite of a plethora of legislation to encourage their protection, they continue to be replaced or degraded by human activities (Bergstrom and Stoll 1993). A major factor contributing to this is that their value is poorly understood. Although numerous studies exist that describe the functional values of wetlands, these tend to be for large wetland systems. Much less is understood about the role played by small wetlands at a local or regional scale.