Zimbabwe has designated seven wetlands of international importance in accordance with Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975 and it is commonly known as the Ramsar Convention.
Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.
Zimbabwe’s seven wetlands are Lakes Chivero and Manyame, Driefontein Grasslands, Chinhoyi Caves, Manapools, Victoria Falls National Park, Cleveland Dam and Monavale Vlei.
However, there are several other wetlands across the breadth and width of the country which do not fall under the seven above mainly due to their size.
Njovo Wetland is one such wetland which is worth mentioning due to its impact to the community and how the community have been protecting it.
The Njovo Wetland is found in Zezai Village in Masvingo.
The wetland is on a 4.5 hacter piece of land fenced with a bubbed wire.
The are several projects which are undertaken at Njovo wetlands which includes bee, fishery, hotculture and bannans projects among others.
The Njovo community carries their projects in a way that it preserve the natural eco-system, trees and the land.
Njovo Wetland formed part of Environment Management Agency’s (EMA) exhibition on the just ended Harare Agriculture Show Exhibition.
The show was running under the theme, “Sustained growth; Adaptation, Productivity and Linkages.”
The theme of the show was consumerate with EMA running the show poised on educating the nation on how to save wetlands as well as how the wetlands can be beneficial to humans.
Fans who passed through EMA’ s pavilion at the agriculture show could have a feel of Njovo wetland as some of the exhibitors were from that community and could narrate real lived experiences and they also brought some of the products from the wetland to showcase them.
Wetlands have legal rights, similar to how humans have rights.
Indigenous knowledge of the people recognises nature as a living entity.
This led to the universal recognition of the Rights of Wetlands in an effort to reduce the destruction of wetlands.
The Declaration on wetland is an opportunity to promote a paradigm shift and step-change in the human-wetlands relationship that could lead to a fundamental change in the trajectory for global wetland ecosystems.
Defining a Wetland
A wetland is an area of land that is either covered by water or saturated with water.
Wetland can be seasonal or perennial.
The water is often groundwater, seeping up from an aquifer or spring.
A wetland’s water sometimes can also come from a nearby river or lake.
Seawater can create wetlands, especially in coastal areas that experience strong tides.
The saturation of wetland soil determines the vegetation that surrounds it.
Plants that live in wetlands are uniquely adapted to their watery (hydric) soil.
Wetland plants are called hydrophytes. Seasonally dry wetlands or wetlands with slow-moving water can often support trees and other sturdy vegetation.
More frequently flooded wetlands have mosses or grasses as their dominant hydrophytes.
Wetlands are known by several names, such as swamps, peatlands, sloughs, marshes, muskegs, bogs, fens, potholes, and mires.
Most scientists agree on swamps, marshes, and bogs to be the three major kinds of wetlands.
Advantages of Wetlands
Wetlands controls erosion; emergent plants (plants firmly rooted in muddy bottom bot with stalks above water surface) are able to radically slow the flow of water. Resultantly they can counter the erosive forces of moving water along lakes or rivers and in rolling agricultural landscapes
They retain nutrients
Wetland recharge groundwater (1 acre of wetlands can hold over a million gallons of water).
Can be habitat for hundreds of species of animals and birds.
Wetlands prevent flooding through holding water much like a sponge. By doing so wetlands help to keep rivers levels normal and filter and purify surface water. Wetland can temporarily store rainwater and this slow down and spread out the timing of runoff.
Wetlands release vegetative matter into the river, which help feed acqua life. Food materials produced in wetlands support fish and wildlife in adjacent areas.
They provide hunting and other recreational activities. Coastal and inland wetlands can be location for tourist and recreational activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, camping and bird watching.
Several animals that live in the other habitat use wetlands for migration and reproduction.
Wetlands clean the water by filtering out sediments, decomposing vegetative matter and converting chemicals into useful forms.
It support agricultural activities by providing water for irrigation and livestock and for domestic consumption. Wetland areas are source of reliable water supply and if the underlying geology is suitable, are major source of ground water resupply.
EMA brought Njovo Wetland to Agriculture Show and many fans benefited on the importance of wetlands and how humans should core-exist with them.