Wetlands are some of the world's most fragile and sensitive ecosystems supporting unique habitats for plants and animals, and providing livelihoods to millions of people across the world. Wetlands can be found in all shapes and sizes and are very significant for many animals and plants. They also provide shelter to many bird species. In Aruba, the Spaans Lagoen area was appointed as an international wetland and is recognized as such but has also been added to the Convention of Wetlands list. This area is also protected and managed by the Arikok National Park. There is also the Bubali Plas, a wetland developed by humans. In the ’80s the Bubali Plas was considered a natural wetland but has been expanded over the years by the DOW for the disposal of water processed at the RWZI.
Who uses these wetlands?
Wetlands are mainly used by birds who use the wetlands as shelter, for food, and as nurseries.
Wetlands are very scarce on the planet, which makes them even more important for the birds. The existence of many bird species depends on these wetlands. Deterioration of the water quality can seriously jeopardize these birds since they won’t be able to find another ecosystem to survive. Birds are not the only animals that use the wetlands. Other animals highly dependent are iguanas, lizards, seahorses, butterflies, fish, shells, crabs and the list goes on and on.
Spaans Lagoen characteristics:
Spaans Lagoen consists of 3 habitats. The most elevated part contains the marshes that capture the rainwater in Rooi Frances, Rooi Taki, and Rooi Bringamosa. The second habitat is the mangrove area that contains a variety of mangroves and animals like seabirds and terrestrial birds, fish, and invertebrates. The third habitat is the saltwater area which can become brackish when it rains.
On World Wetlands Day, the Department of Nature and Environment (DNM) wants to emphasize that is an ideal day to stand still and think about how you can help protect the Spaans Lagoen and other areas labeled as wetlands. Expand your knowledge about the importance of these wetlands. You can also help maintain these areas nice and clean. Only visit these areas to relax and to take pictures. Do not disturb the natural function of nature. Spaans Lagoen is not an area for noisy activities or sports nor to visit with pets. With an annual membership of the Parke Arikok you’ll have access to the area and can help with its preservation.
In the attached before and after picture, you can see the growth of the Bubali Plas. Photo courtesy of Stimaruba.