Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 151–167 | Cite as

Current state of knowledge regarding the world’s wetlands and their future under global climate change: a synthesis

  • Wolfgang J. JunkEmail author
  • Shuqing An
  • C. M. Finlayson
  • Brij Gopal
  • Jan Květ
  • Stephen A. Mitchell
  • William J. Mitsch
  • Richard D. Robarts
Effects of Climate Change on Wetlands


Wetlands cover at least 6 % of the Earth’s surface. They play a key role in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, harbour a large part of the world’s biodiversity, and provide multiple services to humankind. However, pressure in the form of land reclamation, intense resource exploitation, changes in hydrology, and pollution threaten wetlands on all continents. Depending on the region, 30–90 % of the world’s wetlands have already been destroyed or strongly modified in many countries with no sign of abatement. Climate change scenarios predict additional stresses on wetlands, mainly because of changes in hydrology, temperature increases, and a rise in sea level. Yet, intact wetlands play a key role as buffers in the hydrological cycle and as sinks for organic carbon, counteracting the effects of the increase in atmospheric CO2. Eight chapters comprising this volume of Aquatic Sciences analyze the current ecological situation and the use of the wetlands in major regions of the world in the context of global climate change. This final chapter provides a synthesis of the findings and recommendations for the sustainable use and protection of these important ecosystems.


Wetlands Distribution Threats Management Climate change 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang J. Junk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shuqing An
    • 2
  • C. M. Finlayson
    • 3
  • Brij Gopal
    • 4
  • Jan Květ
    • 5
    • 6
  • Stephen A. Mitchell
    • 7
  • William J. Mitsch
    • 8
  • Richard D. Robarts
    • 9
  1. 1.National Institute for Science and Technology in Wetlands (INCT-INAU)Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT)Bairro Boa EsperançaBrazil
  2. 2.The Institute of Wetland Ecology, The State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Life ScienceNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Institute for Land, Water and SocietyCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  4. 4.Centre for Inland Waters in South AsiaNational Institute of EcologyJaipurIndia
  5. 5.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  6. 6.Institute of Systems Biology and EcologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicTřeboňCzech Republic
  7. 7.Water Research Commission, Private Bag X03Gezina 0031South Africa
  8. 8.W. H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research ParkThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  9. 9.UNEP GEMS/WATER Programme, c/o NWRISaskatoonCanada

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