Very special habitats are waters as transitions between land and sea: mudflats, salt marshes, river estuaries, lagoons and shallow coastal waters. They are home to particularly characteristic plant and animal communities. Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, providing an irreplaceable habitat for fish and coastal birds in particular. With their ecosystem services, such as water filtration and storage, water sources, flood protection, carbon sinks and food sources, they are also very important for humans.
This makes it all the more dramatic that the fertile and nutrient-rich coastal wetlands are among the most endangered habitats in the world: They fall dry, are drained, polluted, diked or overused. The global loss of these biotopes in the last hundred years is estimated at about 50 - 70 % (Millennium Assessment 2005, Ramsar Convention 2015), a trend that must be stopped urgently, especially as climate change, industrial and real estate projects, aquaculture and tourism pose a serious threat to the last halfway intact ecosystems of this kind.
Since 2003, we have been committed to important wetlands along the flyway of the highly endangered Spoonbilled Sandpiper on the coasts of East and Southeast Asia. In recent years, the focus has been on the tidal flat and mangrove coasts of China and Myanmar. See here: Asian coastal zones, Ramsar sites of Myanmar and Mangrove protection in Myanmar.
Since 2015, we have been striving to protect wetlands on the arid Pacific coast between Chile and Ecuador. See here: Coastal Wetlands Initiative South America, and in Chile the projects for the designation of the Ramsar sites Río Limarí and Tongoy.
Since 2018, we have been committed to the implementation of a Coastal marine protected areas in Grand Bèrèby on Côte d'Ivoire (formerly Ivory Coast), where we are evaluating the protection of four coastal stretches and the realization of a biosphere reserve which, in addition to nature conservation, also envisages the management of the local population.