The Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site, Ghana is a coastal lagoon wetland system with rich biodiversity. It is a placed that has been shaped by climatic change and human activities, such as farming. How is it changing and how will this affect the ecosystem services it has to offer? We spoke to Dr Sian Davis Vollum, Head of Geoscience at Derby University. Dr Davis Vollum has a particular interest in how sedimentology can be used to understand environmental and climate change. We discussed her research on shoreline change and sea live rise in Ghana.
Davies-Vollum, K.S. and West, M., 2015 Shoreline change and sea level rise at the Muni-Pomadze coastal wetlands (Ramsar site), Ghana, Journal of Coastal Conservation, 19 (4): 515-525
This refers to the benefits that humans obtain from ecosystems. For example, food and water, regulatory services such as flood control and cultural services such as community, spiritual and recreational benefits.
A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently. It develops distinct characters of a wetland ecosystem as a result of these conditions.
A wetland site that has been designated as being of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO. It aims to facilitate international and national action to conserve wetlands and promote their sustainable use.
Lesson plan ideas
To begin, ask students what they know about wetlands. What makes them special? Take a look at this WWF overview on wetlands and introduce ‘coastal wetlands’.
Take a look at the Ramsar Convention website; ask students to explore where are the sites based? Are there any patterns emerging? What does this tell us about wetland areas
Having listened to the podcast students can create a table with three headings: environmental, social, and cultural. In each of these columns students should list the ecosystem services that this special site provides.
As a class debate: how important is the Convention of Wetlands and what are the challenges of international and national communities working together to conserve Ramsar sites?