Save Natural Wetlands in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Wetlands similar to those in Bosnia

Target: Minister of Trade, Tourism and Environment for Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Semin Boric

Goal: Save Hutovo Blato Nature Park by prioritizing funding and stopping hydropower development in the wetlands area

Hutovo Blato Nature Park, an expansive wetland preserve in Bosnia and Herzegovina was recently recognized by the Ramsar convention as an area of international importance. Hutovo Blato is an important wetland habitat that supports an immense number of species. It also serves as a stop for many species of migratory birds that come to rest and feed on the abundance of fish. The wetlands’ rich biodiversity was one of the reasons the Ramsar convention declared Hutovo Blato Nature Park an area in need of immediate and specific conservation.

Furthermore, Hutovo Blato Nature Park serves an important environmental purpose in that it provides a space for carbon sequestration. This helps to offset the effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Estimates have shown that the peat land area of Hutovo Blato prevent as much as 7,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere. In addition, the wetlands also help to prevent flooding in downstream areas by detaining water. They also help to purify the water that does make it downstream, preventing saltwater intrusion into economically valuable soils.

However, despite all of these benefits, Hutovo Blato Nature Park is not exempt from human development. The wetlands have recently been subjected to increasing hydropower development that includes the modification of existing water systems. Altering these existing systems results in a decrease in all of the benefits the wetlands naturally provide. Furthermore, unchecked poaching has led to damage – the lessening of biodiversity in the area – and a lack of funding to protect Hutovo Blato has resulted in the depreciation of the area. The wetlands have begun to dry up, and with the loss of plant and fish species, fewer and fewer birds have returned to the area. Some estimates have shown that Hutovo Blato Nature Park could be entirely decimated in the next 30 years if current management of the area does not change.

Take a stand and call for the immediate conservation of this valuable and biodiversity-rich wetland.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister of Trade, Tourism and Environment Mr. Semin Boric,

Hutovo Blato Nature Park consists of an immensely important wetland that provides an area for incredible biodiversity. Furthermore, Hutovo Blato serves many natural functions that benefit human life as well, including preventing flooding downstream, purification of water that prevents saltwater intrusion into fertile soil lands and an intrinsic beauty that is irreplaceable.

Current management of Hutovo Blato Nature Park lacks enough funding to properly conserve the area. Furthermore, poachers threaten the biodiversity of the wetlands while hydropower development alters the delicate ecosystem in ways that potentially can not be rectified.

This wetland is an important area, both as a place of natural beauty as well as in its ecological functions. Therefore, I urge you to act immediately to preserve Hutovo Blato Nature Park by ceasing hydropower development in the area, and increasing funding to help protect these natural and valuable wetlands.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Svetlana Makarova via Wikimedia

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