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Wadden Sea

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Title: Wadden Sea  
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Subject: List of World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands, North Sea, Südfall, Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park, Groningen (province)
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Wadden Sea

UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Wadden Sea
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Natural
Criteria viii, ix, x
Reference 1314
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2009 (33rd Session)


The Wadden Sea (Dutch: Waddenzee, German: Wattenmeer, Low German: Wattensee or Waddenzee, Danish: Vadehavet, West Frisian: Waadsee) is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity. In 2009, the Dutch and German parts of the Wadden Sea were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and the Danish part was added in June 2014.[1][2]

The Wadden Sea is one of the world's seas whose coastline has been most modified by humans,[3] via systems of dikes and causeways on the mainland and low lying coastal islands. The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder in the Netherlands in the southwest, past the great river estuaries of Germany to its northern boundary at Skallingen north of Esbjerg in Denmark along a total length of some 500 km and a total area of about 10,000 km². Within the Netherlands it is bounded from the IJsselmeer by the Afsluitdijk.

The islands in the Wadden Sea are called the Wadden Sea Islands or Frisian Islands, named after the Frisians. However, on the westernmost Dutch island, Texel, the Frisian language has not been spoken for centuries. The Danish Wadden Sea Islands have never been inhabited by Frisians. The outlying German island of Helgoland, although ethnically one of the Frisian Islands, is not situated in the Wadden Sea.

The German part of the Wadden Sea was the setting for the 1903 Erskine Childers novel The Riddle of the Sands.


Salt marsh and mudflats in Westerhever, Germany
The mudflats of the Pilsumer Watt near Greetsiel, Germany


The word wad is Dutch for "mud flat" (Low German and German: Watt, Danish: Vade). The area is typified by extensive tidal mud flats, deeper tidal trenches (tidal creeks) and the islands that are contained within this, a region continually contested by land and sea. The landscape has been formed for a great part by storm tides in the 10th to 14th centuries, overflowing and carrying away former peat land behind the coastal dunes. The present islands are a remnant of the former coastal dunes.

The islands are marked by dunes and wide, sandy beaches towards the North Sea and a low, tidal coast towards the Wadden Sea. The impact of waves and currents, carrying away sediments, is slowly changing the layout of the islands. For example, the islands of Vlieland and Ameland have moved eastwards through the centuries, having lost land on one side and grown on the other.


The Wadden Sea is famous for its rich flora and fauna, especially birds. Hundreds of thousands of waders (shorebirds), ducks, and geese use the area as a migration stopover or wintering site, and it is also rich habitat for gulls and terns.[4] However, biodiversity of Wadden Sea on today is only a fraction of what was seen before exploitation by human; for birds, larger species such as geese,[5] eagles, flamingos, pelicans, and herons were used to be common as well.[6] Some of species that are regionally extinct is available here.[7][8]

According to J. B. MacKinnon, larger fish including sturgeons, rays,[9] Atlantic salmon, brown trout, and others like lacuna snails and oyster beds and that were once found elsewhere of the regions have disappeared as well, as actual size of Wadden Sea was reduced to about 50% of the original sea, and nutrients from the river of Rhine no longer flows into the sea, resulting in about 90% of all the species historically inhabited Wadden Sea to be at risk.[10]

Wadden Sea hosts important habitat for species of seals such as grey seals. Harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins (seasonally) are only cetaceans of residency while many other species seasonally or occasionally visit the waters.[11] North Atlantic right whales and gray whales[12] were once seen in the region, using the shallow, calm waters for either feeding and breeding before they were completely wiped out by shore-based whaling.[13] These two species are now thought to be either extinct or remnant populations that are low-tens at best survive. One whale, possibly a right whale was observed close to beaches on Texel in the West Frisian Islands and off Steenbanken, Schouwen-Duiveland in July 2005.[14] Recent increases in number of North Atlantic humpback whales and minke whales might have resulted in more visits and possible re-colonization by the species to the area.[15]

Threats to the ecosystem

There are number of [16]


Each of three countries has designated Ramsar sites in the region (see Wadden Sea National Parks).

Although the Wadden Sea is not yet listed as a transboundary Ramsar site, a great part of the Wadden Sea is protected in cooperation of all three countries. The governments of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have been working together since 1978 on the protection and conservation of the Wadden Sea. Co-operation covers management, monitoring and research, as well as political matters. Furthermore, in 1982, a Joint Declaration on the Protection of the Wadden Sea was agreed upon to co-ordinate activities and measures for the protection of the Wadden Sea. In 1997, a Trilateral Wadden Sea Plan was adopted.[17]

In June 2009, the Wadden Sea (comprising the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area and the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) was placed on the World Heritage list by UNESCO.[18]


People on the beach on Borkum, Germany
Mudflat hiking near Pieterburen, Netherlands

Many of the islands have been popular seaside resorts since the 19th century.

Mudflat hiking (Dutch: Wadlopen, German: Wattwandern), i.e., walking on the sandy flats at low tide, has become popular in the Wadden Sea.

It is also a popular region for pleasure boating.

See also


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  3. ^ OSHA description.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Werner Reutemann and Heinz Kieczka "Formic Acid" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a12_013
  5. ^ a b Roman M. Balabin (2009). "Polar (Acyclic) Isomer of Formic Acid Dimer: Gas-Phase Raman Spectroscopy Study and Thermodynamic Parameters".  
  6. ^ Hoffman, Donald R. "Ant venoms" Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2010, vol. 10, pages 342–346. doi:10.1097/ACI.0b013e328339f325
  7. ^ a b c d e f S. N. Bizzari and M. Blagoev (June 2010). "CEH Marketing Research Report: FORMIC ACID". Chemical Economics Handbook. SRI consulting. Retrieved July 2011. 
  8. ^ P. G. Jessop, in Handbook of Homogeneous Hydrogenation (Eds.: J. G. de Vries, C. J. Elsevier), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, 2007, pp. 489–511.
  9. ^ P. G. Jessop, F. Joó, C.-C. Tai (2004). "Recent advances in the homogeneous hydrogenation of carbon dioxide". Coord. Chem. Rev. 248 (21–24): 2425.  
  10. ^ R. Wölfel, N. Taccardi, A. Bösmann, P. Wasserscheid (2011). "Selective catalytic conversion of biobased carbohydrates to formic acid using molecular oxygen". Green Chem. (13): 2759.  
  11. ^ J. Albert, R. Wölfel, A. Bösmann, P. Wasserscheid (2012). "Selective oxidation of complex, water-insoluble biomass to formic acid using additives as reaction accelerators". Energy Environ. Sci. (5): 7956.  
  12. ^ Chattaway, F. D. (1914). "Interaction of glycerol and oxalic acid".   Available at HathiTrust.
  13. ^ Arthur Sutcliffe (1930) Practical Chemistry for Advanced Students (1949 Ed.), John Murray, London.
  14. ^ Makar AB, McMartin KE, Palese M, Tephly TR; McMartin; Palese; Tephly (1975). "Formate assay in body fluids: application in methanol poisoning". Biochem Med 13 (2): 117–26.  
  15. ^ Griggs, J. P.; J (2005). "Alternatives to Antibiotics for Organic Poultry Production". The Journal of Applied Poultry Research 14 (4): 750.  
  16. ^ Garcia, V.; Catala-Gregori, P.; Hernandez, F.; Megias, M. D.; Madrid, J. (2007). "Effect of Formic Acid and Plant Extracts on Growth, Nutrient Digestibility, Intestine Mucosa Morphology, and Meat Yield of Broilers". The Journal of Applied Poultry Research 16 (4): 555.  
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  18. ^ Ha, S.; Larsen, R.; Masel, R. I. (2005). "Performance characterization of Pd/C nanocatalyst for direct formic acid fuel cells". Journal of Power Sources 144 (1): 28–34.  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ Bhat RM, Vidya K, Kamath G; Vidya; Kamath (June 2001). "Topical formic acid puncture technique for the treatment of common warts".  
  21. ^ "OTC Products". Meda AB. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  22. ^ Koch, H.; Haaf, W. (1973), "1-Adamantanecarboxylic Acid",  
  23. ^ G. H. Coleman, David Craig (1943), -Tolualdehyde"p",  
  24. ^ a b C. Fellay, P. J. Dyson, G. Laurenczy; Dyson; Laurenczy (2008). "A Viable Hydrogen-Storage System Based On Selective Formic Acid Decomposition with a Ruthenium Catalyst".  
  25. ^ G. Laurenczy, C. Fellay, P. J. Dyson, Hydrogen production from formic acid. PCT Int. Appl. (2008), 36pp. CODEN: PIXXD2 WO 2008047312 A1 20080424 AN 2008:502691
  26. ^ Joó, Ferenc (2008). "Breakthroughs in Hydrogen Storage-Formic Acid as a Sustainable Storage Material for Hydrogen". ChemSusChem 1 (10): 805–8.  
  27. ^ Haaf, Wolfgang (1966). "Die Synthese sekundärer Carbonsäuren nach der Ameisensäure-Methode". Chemische Berichte 99 (4): 1149–1152.  
  28. ^ G. Wu, S. Shlykov, F. S. Van Alseny, H. J. Geise, E. Sluyts, B. J. Van der Veken (1995), "Formic Anhydride in the Gas Phase, Studied by Electron Diffraction and Microwave and Infrared Spectroscopy, Supplemented with Ab-Initio Calculations of Geometries and Force Fields". J. Phys. Chem., volume 99, issue 21, pages 8589–8598 doi:10.1021/j100021a022
  29. ^ Wray, J. (1670). "Extract of a Letter, Written by Mr. John Wray to the Publisher January 13. 1670. Concerning Some Un-Common Observations and Experiments Made with an Acid Juyce to be Found in Ants". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 5 (57–68): 2063.  
  30. ^ Johnson, W. B. (1803). History of the process and present state of animal chemistry. 
  31. ^ "Methanol and Blindness". Ask A Scientist, Chemistry Archive. Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  32. ^ a b "Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Formic Acid". OSHA. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  33. ^ U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: 21 CFR 186.1316, 21 CFR 172.515

External links

  • Knottnerus, Otto S. (2005). "History of human settlement, cultural change and interference with the marine environment". 
  • Secretariat of The Trilateral Cooperation on the Protection of the Wadden Sea
  • Official Tourist Information for the northernmost part of the National Park: The Danish Wadden Sea
  • Official Tourist Information for the westernmost part of the German National Park
  • The Wadden Sea at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  • Wadden Sea World Heritage
  • Association of the Wadden Sea Island Municipalities in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany

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