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
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.
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.
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
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.