Last edited 27 Jan 2015

Ramsar sites


[edit] Introduction

Ramsar sites are areas of wetland that are designated under the International Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention). The UK government signed up to the Convention in 1976 and in 2014 there were 148 designated sites in the UK and 2186 globally.

[edit] Mission of the Ramsar Convention

The mission of the Ramsar Convention is:

the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

Under the Convention, wetlands include:

  • Lakes and rivers.
  • Underground aquifers.
  • Swamps and marshes.
  • Wet grasslands.
  • Peatlands.
  • Oases.
  • Estuaries.
  • Deltas and tidal flats.
  • Mangroves and other coastal areas.
  • Coral reefs.
  • All human-made sites including fish ponds, rice paddies, salt pans and reservoirs.

[edit] UK Ramsar sites

In the UK, in 2014 there were 148 designated Ramsar sites totalling over 785,000 hectares. Further information on each of the sites is available from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website.

[edit] Ramsar Site criteria

There are nine criteria for identifying Wetlands of International Importance:

[edit] Group A. Sites containing representative, rare or unique wetland types

  • Criteria 1: A wetland containing a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.

[edit] Group B. Sites of international importance for conserving biological diversity

  • Criteria 2: A wetland supporting vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
  • Criteria 3: A wetland supporting populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
  • Criteria 4: A wetland supporting plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provideing refuge during adverse conditions.
  • Criteria 5: A wetland supporting 20,000 or more waterbirds.
  • Criteria 6: A wetland regularly supporting 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.
  • Criteria 7: A wetland supporting a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributing to global biological diversity.
  • Criteria 8: A wetland that is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.
  • Criteria 9: A wetland regularly supporting 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent nonavian animal species.

[edit] Proposals that may affect a Ramsar site

Any developments that are close to (or within) the boundary of a Ramsar site may require a Habitat Regulations Assessment if they are likely to have an adverse affect on the site. An initial screening stage would be required, followed by an Appropriate Assessment.

Where it is considered that an adverse effect on the integrity of the site is likely, and no alternatives are available, the project can only go ahead if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the appropriate compensatory measures can be secured.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.

[edit] External references