Celebrating World Wetlands Day:  A call to take action is the focus of this year’s campaign

World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on the 02th of February to raise awareness about wetlands. A call to take action is the focus of this year’s campaign. As Centre for Ecological and Sustainability Advisory, we take this opportunity and reflect on some of the benefits and threat to wetlands in Limpopo Province, South Africa and call everyone to take action. 

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded or saturated by water, either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands perform an important hydrological function of regulating flows by receiving, storing and then releasing rain-water slowly through springs and streams. Wetlands are sometimes called “biological super systems” because they produce great volume of food that supports remarkable levels of floral and faunal biodiversity.

Most of the local communities in the Limpopo province are directly sustained by wetlands resources to meet their daily socio-economic needs. Though wetlands supports people and economy, the systems continue to be degraded, mainly because of infrastructure development, uncontrolled livestock grazing and trampling, siltation and erosion, farming and over-exploitation of their natural resources. 

Values of wetlands in Limpopo Province 

  • Most wetlands in the Limpopo Province serve as the source of clean drinking water.
  • Some of the wetlands are also serves as the source of proteins to local rural communities for example fishing.
  • Wetlands plants and soils play a major role in purifying water from agricultural, industrial and mining activities.
  • Noting that some parts of Limpopo province are flood zones, presence of wetlands plays a crucial role in flood control. 
  • Some wetlands in the Limpopo Province have historical, archeological, cultural and spiritual significance to their local communities. 
  • The natural beauty of wetlands such Nylsvley Nature Reserve and others in the Limpopo Province attract the tourist locally and abroad. 
  • Majority of local farmers in the Limpopo depends on wetlands for crop cultivation and livestock grazing. 
  • Most of women in the rural areas of Limpopo use raw materials harvested from wetlands for making handcraft such as mat, bags and traditional hut roofing.

Threats to wetlands in Limpopo Province 

  • Unauthorized water abstraction from wetlands for cultivation and others purposes are seen as the major problems that threaten the existence of wetlands in most rural areas of Limpopo province. 
  • Due to the pressure of water scarcity most of perennial rivers in the Limpopo are dammed. This cannot only change its hydrological state of the river but also the ecological functioning of associated wetlands. 
  • Erosion and sedimentation of wetlands due human activities such roads construction, residential development and other developments. 
  • Unsustainable cultivation in and around wetlands have major impact on the biological diversity of wetlands. 


Department of economic Development, Environment and Tourism. State of Wetlands in the Limpopo Province.  

Jogo, W. and Hassan, R., 2010. Balancing the use of wetlands for economic well-being and ecological security: The case of the Limpopo wetland in southern Africa. Ecological Economics, 69(7), pp.1569-1579.

Centre for Ecological and Sustainability Advisory 

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Email: info@centreforecology.co.za