30 Jun 2021

Thousands of hectares of wetlands lost over last two decades - study

11:54 am on 30 June 2021

A new stocktake shows the equivalent of more than 8000 football fields of wetlands has been lost over two decades.

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A wetland near Plimmerton (file). Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

The paper in the Journal of Ecology, using revised data, finds that just 10.8 percent of wetlands are left.

They now make up a total of 249,214 hectares.

Between 1996 and 2018, 5954ha of wetlands were lost.

Wetlands support a disproportionately high number of threatened plants and animals, and help maintain water quality, regulating climate gases and sequester carbon.

They are also of significant cultural and spiritual value for Māori.

Wetlands used to make up 9 percent of New Zealand's total area.

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