Wetlands are comprised of a range of different habitats that make up the transition between land and water. Beaches, mires, rivers, forest-covered wetlands, deltas and lakes are the typical Norwegian wetland types. These areas are vital to maintain diversity in nature. These habitats are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems, whilst providing a range of ecosystem services of great value to our society, economy and quality of life.
Amongst the biggest threats to Norwegian wetlands are land use, draining of wetlands, forestry, pollution, human regulation of water levels, littering, intensive agriculture, and the spread of invasive species. Several of the most threatened habitats in Norway are connected to wetlands and many of the species on the Norwegian Redlist live in wetland areas. Worldwide, wetland areas are degrading faster than any other habitat type.
The concept of diversity in nature includes biological diversity, the landscape, ecological processes and how they are all connected. Diversity in nature is important to maintain balance in the natural world and must be preserved regardless of its direct value to people. Ecosystem services are defined as the benefits that we gain from the natural environment. Clean air and water, food, textiles, fuel, biochemicals and genetic resources, pollination of plants and recirculation of nutrients are all examples of ecosystem services. Many ecosystem services have a role in maintaining and regulating our environment, for example protection against natural catastrophes such as floods, storms and erosion; and a defence against global warming, as forests and vegetation absorb CO2.
The Dokka Delta Ecosystem is comprised of the watercourses in Synnfjell, Etna, Dokka and Randsfjorden in the municipalities of Nordre Land, Søndre Land and Etnedal. The ecosystem includes the Dokka Delta nature reserve Ramsar site, two protected rivers, several nature reserves, part of Langsua National Park and the administrative centres Bruflat, Hov and Dokka. The Dokka Delta Ecosystem was one of fifteen national projects in the Ministry of Climate and Environment’s and the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation’s initiative ‘’The value of our natural heritage’ (2009-2013). Within the Dokka Delta nature reserve we have developed the art in nature exhibition ‘nature experience chairs in the Dokka Delta Ecosystem’. These can be found in different nature spaces with the goal of encouraging people to spend more time in nature. We wish to use knowledge and art to make people more curious about the nature that surrounds us. Nature that allows us to turn our gaze both inwards and outwards.
The experience of water and watercourses in the Dokka Delta Ecosystem
Watercourses have been a part of people’s lives in Land for thousands of years, but the use of water as a resource, and of rivers as transport arteries, completely changed during the last half century. The way we perceive our rivers and mires has also changed in the last fifty years. The Dokka Delta National Wetland Centre AS views nature interpretation as way of fostering a holistic perspective of the natural world, and thereby increase our understanding of nature.
CEPA (communication, education, participation and awareness) is a concept that is used by the Ramsar Convention as part of their strategic and targeted communication work. The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (now part of the Norwegian Environment Agency) developed an action plan, based on the CEPA approach, to stress the importance of wetlands in Norway, and highlight the benefits they offer to our society. We wish to use these ideas of highlighting the benefits provided by wetlands, and of increasing the knowledge of their importance, to achieve better protection of Norway’s wetlands.
Norwegian Weltands in a global perspective
The Convention on Wetlands, also known as the Ramsar Convention, was signed in the city of Ramsar in Iran in 1971. The convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The members of the convention are duty bound to implement the objectives of the original convention, as well as objectives agreed to at conferences held every three years. Today there are 63 Ramsar sites in Norway, all wetland areas with international importance.