The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) is an organization promoting conservation, restoration and science-based management of wetlands. With its 3000 members worldwide, SWS continues to lead wetland science by developing and communicating critical information for further policy development.
With the theme «Sustainable wetland management – Exploring novel approaches for water management, biodiversity conservation, restoration, pollution control and climate change», the SWS organized its 12th Europe Chapter Annual Meeting on 4-6 May 2017 at the University of Algarve in Faro, Portugal.
The sessions included themes on Ecological quality and conservation of wetlands; Wetlands and water quality; Paludiculture; and River conservation. There were keynote lectures on ”Doñana on the tightrope”, ”Removal of pharmaceuticals in constructed wetlands” and ”Opportunities for Paludiculture”.
The SWS Europe Chapter is a member of the Mediterranean Wetland Alliance. Because Europe borders the Mediterranean, the meeting drew attendees from the Mediterranean region of North Africa and Europe, and conference programming included presentations by the Mediterranean Wetland Observatory (MWO): ” Wetlands status and trends in the Mediterranean region” and ” Adaptation of water framework indicators (phytoplankton and nutrients,) for oligohaline and mesohaline Mediterranean lagoons ”.
Signature of Memoranda of Cooperation
During the annual meeting, many memoranda of cooperation were signed. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego and the SWS President Gillian Davies signed and renewed the Memorandum of Cooperation for 2017-2023.
The Ramsar Convention and SWS share objectives for protecting, conserving, restoring and sustainably managing wetlands around the world, as well as providing wetland education and outreach. As the Memorandum notes, ”The Convention on Wetlands and the SWS recognize the fundamental role played by wetlands in regulating and providing water, in supporting maintenance of cultural and biological diversity, in ensuring high ecosystem integrity, in regulating climate and in providing ecosystem services and benefits for people and the planet”.
Additionally, the Europe Chapter signed two Memoranda of Cooperation with fellow societies: Wetland Pollutant Dynamics and Control (WETPOL) and the Constructed Wetlands Association (CWA), which promotes the application of constructed wetland technologies to address water pollution issues.
Field visit to Doñana Ramsar Site
A special highlight of the meeting was the keynote presentation ”Doñana on a tightrope”, given by Eva Hernández from WWF-Spain, and the field trip to Doñana National Park, which is a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a larger Biosphere Reserve.
Doñana includes the largest wetland in Western Europe and a large dune ecosystem with its respective shoreline and representative terrestrial plant communities. The area is home to many species, including the Iberian lynx and the Imperial eagle. The marshland plays a critical role as a stopover, breeding and wintering point for thousands of European, Iberian and African birds.
Society of Wetland Scientists