Some wetlands are protected by what’s known as the Ramsar Convention. Its full name is the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
The convention was first signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. It aims to promote and protect wetlands throughout the world. Today, it recognises and protects more than 192 million hectares of wetlands.
Countries that sign up to the convention can nominate sites to be listed as Wetlands of International Importance. These are referred to as Ramsar sites and must meet at least 1 of 9 internationally accepted criteria.
For example, the wetlands might support a large population of animals and plants, provide habitats for threatened or endangered species or be unique in their region.
Australia has 65 Ramsar sites covering more than 8.3 million hectares, an area bigger than Tasmania. Provisions for their protection are outlined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Ramsar sites in New South Wales
These wetlands are on a range of land tenures, including national parks and nature reserves, State forests, Crown land and private land.
There are 12 Ramsar sites in New South Wales.