Biodiversity Conservation: Development of Swampy Wetland Area

Recently, ICIMOD embarked on a new project for biodiversity conservation and promotion: development of a useful swampy wetland area in a water-logged part of the site. Swampy wetland is land that can be used for growing plants which like their roots to be permanently wet like water iris and rushes. Developing swampy wetland with ponds surrounded by swampy areas planted with useful and/or decorative plants is a better way of using waterlogged land than struggling against nature by trying to drain it. A ‘bog’ or ‘swamp’ garden makes an attractive and conventional feature in informal or naturalistic landscaping. Such a garden provides a gradual and natural transition from aquatic to moisture loving plants with ideal conditions for amphibians and other wildlife. It provides a site for conservation of a specialised group of plants and animals.

The objectives of the wetlands development site are

  • reclamation of an unused wetland/swampy area
  • collection of unused water
  • enrichment planting while retaining the existing useful species
  • creation of an interface between the wetland and surrounding terrestrial system for conservation of valuable biodiversity
  • on site education and training in conservation

The wetlands site is used to demonstrate to farmers and development workers another possibility for using an area usually considered as ‘waste’ land which is not only attractive, but also allows growth of useful species like rushes and, at the terrestrial interface, large cardamom.