Bloomberg Law
Feb. 8, 2023, 4:00 PM

A Fifth of the World’s Species-Rich Wetlands Have Been Destroyed

Eric Roston
Eric Roston
Bloomberg News

A fifth of the Earth’s wetlands have been destroyed by humans over the past three centuries, a cumulative area larger than India, a comprehensive new study has found.

Wetlands provide critical and historically under-recognized benefits to humanity, including flood defense, water storage and biodiversity protection, but their conversion for other uses has often proved more attractive in the short term than sustaining them. The issue of wetland destruction has come into focus in recent months amid global efforts to halt a catastrophic loss of species-rich ecosystems. Almost 200 countries agreed at the United Nations COP15 summit in Montreal in December to an ambitious and ...