The Importance of Wetlands
Wetlands are some of the world's oldest and most majestic features. There are countless wetlands spread throughout the countries where animals thrive, but human activity has begun to tarnish these places and unless something is done soon, wetlands could be permanently depleted.
What are Wetlands?
Wetlands are areas of soil that are heavily saturated with moisture. This saturation can be permanent or it can occur seasonally. Anytime soil is very heavily saturated for an extended period of time, the area is considered a wetland. These types of land include bogs, marshes, and swamps among others. There are different types of water present in wetlands as well. Freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water can all be found in wetlands.
- Wetlands: Government page with information about wetlands.
- Wetlands Inventory: Another government page with information about the country's wetlands.
- Wetland Resources: Compilation of many good links to sites with information about wetlands.
The Importance of Wetlands
Wetlands are important because they help support entire ecosystems. Some plant species that can only survive in wetlands are water lilies, sedges, cattails, cypress, mangroves, and even black spruce. These plants then support other types of life that live either in the wetlands themselves or in the surrounding areas. This includes many different types of animals like birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even fur bearers or mammals. Wetlands often form the bases of ecosystems that spring up around them.
- Wetland Introduction: Discusses the types and locations of wetlands.
- Wetland Wonderland: Shows the wonders of wetlands.
- California's Wetlands: Discusses California's wetlands and what has been happening to them.
Human Impact on Wetlands
It's sad, but humans are having a negative impact on wetlands. Land development has resulted in wetlands being cleared or eroded. This causes the actual chemical makeup of wetlands to be altered, which results in an entire ecosystem being thrown off track. Then, there is waste dumping that pollutes the wetlands, greatly affecting the life forms that depend on it to live. Even hunting and trapping can have a negative effect when it's done too heavily. When humans use wetlands for agricultural drainage, the wetlands are also negatively affected.
- Threatened Wetlands: Discusses how wetlands are threatened.
- Wetlands Environmental Concern: Provides information on the preservation of wetlands.
- Wetland Preservation: Discusses why wetlands have to be preserved.
Fortunately, the government has taken steps to preserve and manage wetlands. Wetland management includes any activity that preserves, restores, or protects the wetlands in any way. Most of these things are positive, such as protecting the wetlands from illegal dumping.
- America's Wetland Foundation: A foundation devoted to preserving America's wetlands.
- Exploring Wetlands: Offers a virtual tour of some wetlands.
- Importance of Wetlands: Briefly explains why wetlands are important to an ecosystem.
Preservation of wetlands is important for protecting the ecosystems that develop around them. Lots of money has been invested into water purification plants to help purify water which has been tainted because of human activity. There are also many US laws that prevent wetland destruction with strict rules regarding the draining of wetlands. There are also multiple projects that have been developed to restore and protect wetlands.
- Wetlands Regulation Center: Provides information about laws and policies pertaining to wetlands management.
- Wetland Basics: Some basic facts about wetlands.
- Wetlands Journal: Journal that discusses different facts about wetlands and their preservation.