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The mission of the 9th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference is to provide a platform to review advances in the physical, biogeochemical, and social sciences as they are related to wetlands, to provide integrated solutions for sustainable management of wetland resources in a complex world, and to facilitate professional relationships at regional to international scales.
Wetlands exist at the interface between terrestrial and aquatic environments. The 2 billion acres (approximately 800 million hectares) of wetlands on Earth are spread throughout all climates except the Antarctica. Although wetlands occupy only about 6% of the total landscape, their overall role from the regional to global scale is much greater than their area.
Wetlands are sources, sinks, and transformers of materials and habitats for diverse life forms. They are a source of food, fiber, and clean water for humans, a carbon sink and source, may reduce flood damage, be a site for groundwater reservoirs, be a sink for pollutants, an agent of chemical transformation, a buffer for climate change, and a corridor for migrating animals. Wetlands are complex ecosystems because they are driven by many physical, chemical, and biological processes. This complexity means that understanding wetland ecosystems requires an interdisciplinary approach that engages many specializations, including biology, chemistry, biogeochemistry, ecology, hydrology, pedology, to mention a few.
While many management practices are compatible, not all are adequate to protect wetland resources and sustain wetland values and functions. Climate change, in particular, is one of the major threats to the sustainability and integrity of many ecosystems, including wetlands. Some questions of immediate concern are: (1) how will wetland ecosystem services be affected by changing climatic condition, and (2) are the current adaptive management practices used compatible or adequate to sustain, protect and preserve wetlands and its functions and values?
The 9th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference will provide an opportunity to review and collaborate on advances in wetland science in ecological, physical, biogeochemical and social sciences pertinent to wetland management and policy. The conference will be a forum to discuss threats, challenges and integrated solutions for sustainable restoration and management of wetlands in our changing world.
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