(Updated February 2014)
Management and Coordination of The Swaziland’s Wetlands Programme
The Kingdom of Swaziland on 15 June 2013 completed the accession to the Ramsar Convention – Convention on Wetlands of international Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat as adopted at Ramsar in 1971, and amended in 1982. The Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC) is the Administrative National Focal Point (NFP) on wetland conservation issues to engage all national stakeholders (government ministries, government parastatals, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, community based organisations, private sector businesses, etc) in strengthening the conservation management of our national wetlands which are targeted by the Ramsar Conservation.
National Wetlands Types
These pages aim to inform the general public and international community about the nature and status of wetlands in the Swaziland. It will also help in sharing information on conservation and 'wise use' of wetlands. It is part of a regional initiative the IUCN - ROSA to have each country register a national wetlands page that will be linked to a regional network.
Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Types
Swaziland’s range of wetlands as defined under the Ramsar convention below, are found along the country’s rivers, flood plains, swamps, bogs, vleis, and dams (manmade). These serve as valuable ecological/natural infrastructure for supporting many purposes; agriculture, chiefly water provision, maintaining fertile soils, climate regulation services, and much more. It is important to note that national wetlands are increasingly threatened and pressured by human population growth, large-scale agricultural and development initiatives intended to alleviate poverty together with climate change phenomena.
Under the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) "wetlands" are defined by Articles 1.1 and 2.1 as shown below:
"For the purpose of this Convention wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres."
Article 2.1 provides that wetlands:
"may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six meters at low tide lying within the wetlands".
Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Types
The codes are based upon the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type as approved by Recommendation 4.7 and amended by Resolution VI.5 of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. Wetlands are generally divided into two broad categories: Marine/Coastal wetlands and Inland Wetlands. Here we shall show only inland wetlands types. The categories listed below are very broad categories for rapid identification of the main wetland habitats represented at each site:
Inland Wetlands Types
L - Permanent inland deltas.
M - Permanent rivers/streams/creeks; includes waterfalls.
N - Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks.
O - Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha); includes large oxbow lakes.
P - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha); includes floodplain lakes.
Q - Permanent saline/brackish/alkaline lakes.
R - Seasonal/intermittent saline/brackish/alkaline lakes and flats.
Sp - Permanent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes/pools.
Ss - Seasonal/intermittent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes/pools.
Tp - Permanent freshwater marshes/pools; ponds (below 8 ha), marshes and swamps on inorganic soils; with emergent vegetation water-logged for at least most of the growing season.
Ts - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools on inorganic soils; includes sloughs, potholes, seasonally flooded meadows, sedge marshes.
U - Non-forested peatlands; includes shrub or open bogs, swamps, fens.
Va - Alpine wetlands; includes alpine meadows, temporary waters from snowmelt.
Vt - Tundra wetlands; includes tundra pools, temporary waters from snowmelt.
W - Shrub-dominated wetlands; shrub swamps, shrub-dominated freshwater marshes, shrub carr, alder thicket on inorganic soils.
Xf - Freshwater, tree-dominated wetlands; includes freshwater swamp forests, seasonally flooded forests, wooded swamps on inorganic soils.
Xp - Forested peatlands; peatswamp forests.
Y - Freshwater springs; oases.
Zg - Geothermal wetlands
Zk(b) – Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems, inland
Note : "floodplain" is a broad term used to refer to one or more wetland types, which may include examples from the R, Ss, Ts, W, Xf, Xp, or other wetland types. Some examples of floodplain wetlands are seasonally inundated grassland (including natural wet meadows), shrublands, woodlands and forests. Floodplain wetlands are not listed as a specific wetland type herein.
1- Aquaculture (e.g., fish/shrimp) ponds
2 - Ponds; includes farm ponds, stock ponds, small tanks; (generally below 8 ha).
3 - Irrigated land; includes irrigation channels and rice fields.
4 - Seasonally flooded agricultural land (including intensively managed or grazed wet meadow or pasture).
5 - Salt exploitation sites; salt pans, salines, etc.
6 - Water storage areas;reservoirs,/barrages/dams/impoundments (generally over 8 ha).
7 - Excavations; gravel/brick/clay pits; borrow pits, mining pools.
8 - Wastewater treatment areas; sewage farms, settling ponds, oxidation basins, etc.
9 - Canals and drainage channels, ditches.
Zk(c) – Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems, human-made
(Source: www.ramsar.org )