DONGTING: A LAKE IN FLUX - Threatened Waters: China's Wetlands Crisis| 5mins
Director: Sean Gallagher | Producer: Sean Gallagher, Michael Zhao
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United States
Dongting Lake has been reported as a lake in crisis. Dropping water levels have sent alarm-bells ringing in scientific and environmental circles, as the area of the lake has reportedly dropped by nearly 50 percent in the past 70 years.
Wetlands are found on every continent on earth, in the form of rivers, shallow lakes, swamps, mangroves, estuaries and floodplains. They are valued for their ability to store flood waters, protect shorelines, improve water quality, and recharge groundwater aquifers.
Chinaâ€™s wetlands cover some 65 million hectares, ranking first in Asia and representing ten percent of the worldâ€™s total wetlands. A quiet crisis is occurring however as these important waters are quickly disappearing.
As a result of Chinaâ€™s rapid economic growth in recent decades, coupled with climate change, vast swathes of Chinaâ€™s wetlands have now disappeared.
These changes are having serious consequences for the millions of people who rely on these sources of water and also severely affecting the flora and fauna of these regions, pushing many to the brink of extinction.
Photographer and videographer Sean Gallagher spent 2010 traveling thousands of kilometers across China for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and China Green, to document the diverse affects of wetlands disappearance across the breadth of the country.