Slideshow: China’s Wetland Crisis

China Dialogue has a collection of images taken by Sean Gallagher for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, showing the decline of China’s wetlands in the face of booming industry and expanding agriculture:

are found on every continent on earth, as rivers, shallow lakes, swamps, mangroves, estuaries and floodplains. They are valued for their ability to store floodwaters, protect shorelines, improve water quality and recharge groundwater aquifers.

China’s wetlands cover some 650,000 square kilometres, ranking first in Asia and representing 10% of the world’s total. A quiet crisis is occurring, however, as these important waters are quickly disappearing.

As a result of China’s rapid economic growth, coupled with climate change, vast swaths of China’s wetlands have already vanished, resulting in serious consequences for the millions of people across the country who rely on these sources of water.

Gallagher’s work has highlighted the precarious situation of the Yangtze’s alligators, and the efforts to prevent them from following the river’s baiji dolphins and paddlefish into extinction. His work for the Pulitzer Center can be found at

November 24, 2010 2:22 PM
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Categories: Environment, Sci-Tech