Javier Lafuente's Image
Javier illustrates the disregard we show for the natural world with his aerial shot of an artificially straight tarmac road slicing through this wetland landscape.
The Odiel Marshes, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, are the second largest wetland in southern Spain and the country's most important tidal wetland. The area where the mouths of the Odiel and Tinto rivers meet is home to more than a hundred species of birds including flamingos, spoonbills, hoopoes and black-winged stilts, with ospreys and bee-eaters among many migratory visitors.
The road was constructed in the 1980s and is mostly used to provide access to a beach. It divides the wetland reserve in two and has altered the drainage of the tidal marshes and lagoons while disturbing the wildlife that lives there.
Wetland ecosystems are important carbon sinks, and the fragmentation and destruction of these landscapes around the world is greatly reducing our ability to fight climate breakdown.
Coastal wetlands also act as an important buffer zone to protect human populations from storm surges and wave and wind power. As our climate becomes less and less stable, we will need this protection even more.
How you can help
- Talk to your friends and family about the importance of wetlands in maintaining a healthy climate.
- Use and protect the green spaces near you. The more we value our local natural areas, the more they will be protected.
- Consider your impact as a tourist. Visit nature reserves that are protecting their ecosystem and try to support sustainable tourism.
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