Law professor calls for policymakers to protect the world’s wetlands


Take immediate action to conserve and restore the world’s wetlands, the director of Stetson University’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, professor Royal Gardner, urges in a briefing note he recently co-authored with scientists from around the world.

The “State of the World’s Wetlands and their Services to People: A compilation of recent analyses” is a call to action for policymakers, describing how failing to protect wetlands including coral reefs will impact populations who depend on their ecosystem resources.

Key messages of the briefing note include:

  • The global extent of wetlands is estimated to have declined 64-71% in the 20th century, and loss and degradation continues
  • People are deprived of ecosystem services provided by wetlands, resulting in more than $20 trillion annually in losses of ecosystem services
  • Populations of wetland species in Ramsar Sites are decreasing in the tropics
  • There is a negative trend and negative impacts on biodiversity and other ecosystem services
  • Policymakers have sufficient information to understand the urgent need to take appropriate actions to conserve wetlands and their services to people

Scientists from the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Tour du Valat Research Centre for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands in France, and the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel contributed to the briefing note.

Stetson’s Professor Gardner chairs the STRP, which is the scientific advisory body for the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty with 168 countries.

The briefing note, published in three languages, will be made available to all countries that are member states to the Ramsar Convention at the upcoming Ramsar Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Uruguay in June.

Download the briefing note by visiting