Site: The Wadden Sea
What is your personal relation to the marine WHS you represent?
Born and always living near to the Wadden Sea after school I volunteered in nature conservation as many young people do. During my ongoing studies in Biology I focused on coastal ecosystems. It´s my belief that in particular a better understanding of ecological cycles can help to conserve this unique living environment.
What are the specific problems and threats of your marine WHS?
We have a lot of general threats with specific characteristics. To point them all out would blow up the space here but it seems that globalization also globalizes the threats to nature: Climate Change, overfishing, alien species, tourism, shipping, oil spills,… an endless list!
In my opinion the biggest threat lies in humans misunderstanding and a wrong approach of using natural goods. This leads to an unsustainable management and a change of sites like the Wadden Sea. I think this main threat applies mostly to all world heritage site (WHS) in the world.
Concerning the Wadden Sea it is always important to bear in mind that there was industrial use before it became a National Park (1985) and later WHS (2009). This makes it more and more important to induce a rethinking process in the whole society so that people see the value that the WHS has on it´s own.
Why do you think is it important to safeguard your marine WHS?
I think all WHS have to be protected because of their uniqueness. In the Wadden Sea it´s the uniqueness in spacious expansion of sedimentary tidal flats. This is an outstanding ecosystem with a remarkable role on the one hand as a home for resident organisms, on the other as one of the worlds most important wetland for migratory birds. Its pure and wild nature with its natural dynamics offers unequalled opportunities. For me as a ornithologist and a benthic biologist the Wadden Sea gives living space to my favorite creatures. Up to 12 billion migratory birds are at one go 12 billion reasons why it is our responsibility to safeguard this extraordinary ecosystem.