Understanding the Ecological Character of Ramsar Wetlands: A Long Term Perspective

Professor Peter Gell of Federation University, Australia will present the Department of Biological Sciences seminar wtih a talk entitled, "Understanding the Ecological Character of Ramsar Wetlands: A Long Term Perspective".


The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was established in 1971 as a vehicle to arrest the decline in extent and condition of the world’s wetlands, particularly as habitat for waterbirds and fish. When sites are nominated contracting parties are required to provide a description of the ‘natural ecological character’ of the site and detail how the site satisfies any, or all, of nine selection criteria. More recently, host nations are required to nominate ‘limits of acceptable change’ within which the site may vary without requiring notification, to the Convention, if the site ‘has changed, is changing or is likely to change’. Usually, the nominated natural character of a site is that observed at the time of listing and, if declared, the LAC is that based on short term monitoring. The paleoecological record can extend the temporal record of change and is likely to challenge any generally accepted character or LAC. It may also provide robust evidence to the host nation enabling it to qualify perceived change against longer term variation. Paleoecological records from wetlands across the southern Murray-Darling Basin are presented to highlight both natural variation and anthropogenic change and to explore how the Convention may employ this evidence to better understand listed wetlands and encourage nations to manage their wise use.

Mon, 23 Sep 2019 - 13:00

Bio Lecture Theatre, HW Pearson Building, Upper Campus, UCT