★ Team 1C: How might we transform long-term management of wetlands?

Wetlands offer so much potential for people and the planet, but are depleted across the UK and face multiple challenges. Our team focused on the challenge of ensuring their long-term management and funding. We also considered the challenge of nature deficit disorder: the disconnect between people and the natural environment. Might each of these two challenges help solve the other? How might we transform long-term management of wetlands?

The solution we came up with is ‘Wetland Watch’: a fitbit for the health of wetlands which puts community engagement at the heart of wetland management. It’s an app which includes:

  • Community ‘allotment-style’ plots, which people can sign up to manage
  • Citizen science biodiversity monitoring (possibly through linking to a pre-existing structure, such as iNaturalist)
  • Educational resources, including activity suggestions, organisation of school visits and options for volunteers to engage in outreach
  • Opportunities to buy carbon credits relating to local wetlands

Once someone has signed up for a community plot, the app details tasks (set by landowners/NGOs/higher-level management) which could help improve that area of wetland, and provides links to further resources. It also provides a portal for reporting problems, such as invasive species or sources of pollution. It also connects different nearby volunteers to help share equipment, ask advice, or just to celebrate the work everyone does!The carbon credits can be used for funding wetland creation/management, and bought by individuals (e.g. offsetting a flight) or businesses. Rather than offsetting abroad, people can relate to and easily visit the projects they fund. It may even involve adding biochar to wetlands, which both increases carbon storage and can improve the efficacy of pollution-removal in constructed wetlands.


Lawson, C., Rothero, E., Gowing, D., Nisbet, T., Barsoum, N., Broadmeadow, S., & Skinner, A. (2018). The natural capital of floodplains. The Natural Capital of Floodplains: Management, Protection and Restoration to Deliver Greater Benefits. Valuing Nature Natural Capital Synthesis Report VNP09.

Li, J., Fan, J., Zhang, J., Hu, Z., & Liang, S. (2018). Preparation and evaluation of wetland plant-based biochar for nitrogen removal enhancement in surface flow constructed wetlands. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(14), 13929–13937. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1597-y

Louv, R., (2011). The nature principle: Human restoration and the end of nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books.