Wetland Conservation

Places in news: Pantanal Wetlands


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pantanal Wetlands

Mains level : Not Much

Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands is facing a severe crisis due to wildfires and climate change.

Pantanal Wetlands

  • The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetland area, and the world’s largest flooded grasslands.
  • It is located mostly within the Brazilian and extends to some portions of Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • It sprawls over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometer.
  • Roughly 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing a biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species.

Risks faced

  • Unlike the Amazon rainforest, vegetation in the Pantanal has evolved to coexist with fire — many plant species there require the heat from fires to germinate.
  • Often caused by lightning strikes, those natural fires spring up at the end of the dry season, but the surrounding floodplains prevent them from spreading.
  • What’s different now is the drought, contributing further to the unusually dry conditions and exacerbating the fire risk.

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