Catalogue description Ramsar Wetlands Sites Data

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of KR 9
Reference: KR 9
Title: Ramsar Wetlands Sites Data

This series contains 5 datasets relating to Ramsar wetlands sites. Much of the data recorded in this dataset series was derived from the Information Sheet for Ramsar Wetlands (RIS) for each site. The RIS was first adopted by the parties to the Ramsar Convention in 1990; it was designed to provide essential data on all designated Wetlands of International Importance, in order to allow analysis of Ramsar-listed wetlands around the world at any given time, provide baseline data for measuring changes in the ecological character of wetlands listed under the Ramsar Convention, and provide material for publications which inform the public about Ramsar sites.

Each dataset contains the following information:

  • SiteData - summary information about each site largely sourced from the RIS. Covers all UK sites and the Overseas Territories/Crown Dependencies sites including the Channel Islands, Caribbean, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. Includes brief description, size and location of site, date and reasons for designation, information on flora and fauna and a site relevant bibliography.
  • BirdData - information on bird species occurring in each UK site. Bird species in OT/CD sites referred to in SiteData. Not all UK sites have significant bird activity.
  • Criteria - Ramsar criteria under which each site was designated.
  • Physical data - Summary information on landscape, geomorphology, geology and soils. Gives a general impression of the physical character of each site, and is not a detailed description. Some characteristics listed may form only a minor component of the site. This information is sourced from the RIS.
  • Habitat cover - Percentage cover of certain broad habitat types in each site, intended to give a general impression of the character of the site.
  • Wet types - Information on the type(s) of wetland within each site - e.g. Inland, Marine/coastal or Human-made (artificial). It is intended to give a general impression of the physical character of the Ramsar site, and is not a detailed description. Note that more than one wetland type may occur in a single site. This information is sourced from the RIS.
  • Adverse factors - Summary information on significant natural or human-caused factors which have been adversely affecting Ramsar sites, and any measures being taken to address these issues, as reported to the Ramsar Secretariat. Information is sourced from the latest Ramsar UK National Report.
  • Human factors - Summary information on factors such as land tenure/ownership, current land use and human activities, social and cultural values, and conservation measures taken, on or adjacent to each Ramsar site. This information is sourced from the RIS.
Date: 2001-2009

Hardware: The original hardware is not known.

Operating System: Windows XP.

Application software: Microsoft Excel 2002.

Logical structure and schema: The Ramsar datasets were originally supplied to NDAD as 5 Microsoft Excel 2002 files, each spreadsheet comprising a single dataset. Each spreadsheet contained 11 worksheets save for the 2001 dataset which did not contain a Ramsar Maps worksheet and therefore comprised 10. Three worksheets (Explanation of sheets, Ramsar Maps and Summarystats) were extracted by NDAD and preserved as dataset documentation.

How data was originally captured and validated: Data on designated wetlands are communicated by the Parties to the treaty secretariat by means of a Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS) including accurate data on various scientific and conservation parameters and a map precisely delimiting the boundaries of the site. A separate RIS is supplied for each Ramsar site (there are currently more than 150 in the UK). New RIS are submitted to the secretariat for each newly designated site and also where there has been a significant change to the site boundary or list of constituent interest features. Every six years, member states are required to update all of their RIS under the terms of the Ramsar convention. The treaty secretariat extracts some of this information manually to include on their worldwide database of Ramsar sites.

Related material:

Current Ramsar data for UK sites are available via the JNCC website at

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/75
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 1990-

Physical description: 6 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: Data from the Ramsar datasets and related dataset documentation are subject to Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only. The Ramsar datasets are not subject to registration under the Data Protection Act.
Access conditions: Open
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: Originally transferred from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) from 2003. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the datasets until 2010 when they were transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Accruals: No further accruals are expected.
Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 17 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 2001-2009

Administrative / biographical background:

Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention, an inter-governmental treaty entitled 'The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat' which was adopted on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the land, or where the land is covered by shallow water.

  • marine (coastal wetlands; e.g. coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs);
  • estuarine (deltas, tidal marshes, mangroves);
  • lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes;
  • riverine (wetlands associated with rivers and streams);
  • palustrine (marshes, swamps, bogs).

In the UK, the first Ramsar sites were designated in 1976. The initial emphasis was on selecting sites of importance to waterbirds within the UK, and consequently many Ramsar sites are also Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified under the Birds Directive. However, greater attention is now being directed towards the selection of Ramsar sites in UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies; the first of these was designated in 1990.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research

How to look for...