Wetland losses overestimated

https://news.stanford.edu/press-releases/2023/02/08/new-chance-protect-wetlands/
In a first-of-its-kind historical reconstruction, the researchers combed through thousands of records of wetland drainage and land-use changes in 154 countries, mapping the distribution of drained and converted wetlands onto maps of present-day wetlands to get a picture of what the original wetland area might have looked like in 1700.

They found that the area of wetland ecosystems has declined 21-35% since 1700 due to human intervention. That’s far less than the 50-87% losses estimated by previous studies.

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154 counties out of over 3,000 in the US. I did not see any explanation of how those counties were selected. I am sure that 154 counties could be found that have lost 0% of their wetlands since 1700 and 154 counties that have lost 100% of their wetlands. Without a description of how the sample was selected, it is a worthless study. Don’t you agree?

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The Nature paper is behind a paywall. However, the study was global in scope and covered 154 countries.

Their data files are available here:

Of course, it would be easier just to e-mail a question or two to one of the authors. I’ve found that researchers are generally quite open to questions. They will also send you a copy of their paper if you can’t access it.

Etienne Fluet-Chouinard: etienne.fluet@gmail.com

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