The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The Convention is known by several names, including the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, the Ramsar Convention, or simply Ramsar. This short form nickname, Ramsar, is actually a place – it is the name of the city in Iran where the Convention was adopted in 1971. The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
The Ramsar Convention’s mission is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world. More than 170 countries, including the United States, are Party to the Convention. Under the Convention, governments commit to work towards the wise use of all their wetlands, designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance and ensure their effective management, and cooperate internationally to foster wetland conservation.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the U.S.-designated Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention and one of more than 2,300 so-called Ramsar sites worldwide.
In 2009, the United States selected the Sanctuary for this honor for many of the reasons why visitors find it so exceptional today: its role as the home of the largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress trees in the world and as host of the biggest nesting colony of Federally Endangered Wood Storks in the country; the habitat it provides for the nearly 200 species of birds and the many Federal and State listed species residing on the preserve including the Florida Panther, American Alligator, Gopher Tortoise, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Florida Sandhill Crane, Roseate Spoonbill, Big Cypress Fox Squirrel, and the Florida Black Bear; and the vital link it provides between inland freshwater wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico, connecting watersheds in the region including Estero Bay and Big Cypress.
It is wonderful to see that the international community shows, though its recognition of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary as a Ramsar site, that it agrees with us that the Sanctuary is a very special place.