Portal:Wetlands

1310

Wetlands Portal

Wetlands

A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life. Wetlands occur naturally on every continent except Antarctica, the largest including the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, and the Pantanal in South America. The water found in wetlands can be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater. The main wetland types include swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens; and sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. International conservation efforts are being used in conjunction with the development of rapid assessment tools to inform people about wetland issues.

Constructed wetlands can be used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater as well as stormwater runoff and they also play a role in water-sensitive urban design.

Selected article

A marsh along the edge of a small river
A marsh is a wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species. Marshes can often be found at the edges of lakes and streams, where they form a transition between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They are often dominated by grasses, rushes or reeds. If woody plants are present they tend to be low-growing shrubs. This form of vegetation is what differentiates marshes from other types of wetland such as swamps, which are dominated by trees, and mires, which are wetlands that have accumulated deposits of acidic peat.

Marshes provide habitat for many types of plants, animals, and insects that have adapted to living in flooded conditions. The plants must be able to survive in wet mud with low oxygen levels. Many of these plants therefore have aerenchyma, channels within the stem that allow air to move from the leaves into the rooting zone. Marsh plants also tend to have rhizomes for underground storage and reproduction. Familiar examples include cattails, sedges, papyrus and sawgrass. Aquatic animals, from fish to salamanders, are generally able to live with a low amount of oxygen in the water. Some can obtain oxygen from the air instead, while others can live indefinitely in conditions of low oxygen. Marshes provide habitats for many kinds of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, waterfowl and aquatic mammals. Marshes have extremely high levels of biological production, some of the highest in the world, and therefore are important in supporting fisheries. Marshes also improve water quality by acting as a sink to filter pollutants and sediment from the water that flows through them. Marshes (and other wetlands) are able to absorb water during periods of heavy rainfall and slowly release it into waterways and therefore reduce the magnitude of floodin The pH in marshes tends to be neutral to alkaline, as opposed to bogs, where peat accumulates under more acid conditions.

General images

The following are images from various wetland-related articles on Wikipedia.

Law

Selected picture

Did you know...

that muck from bogs is used to grow crops?
...that muck from bogs is used to grow crops?

(Pictured left: Muckland in Elba, New York.)

Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

Categories

Things you can do

  • Create articles: There are many articles that have yet to be started... Pick your favorite and start researching!
  • Find photos for articles: Many wetlands–related articles would be substantially better with the addition of one or more photographs. Feel free to take your own and upload them, or find ones with the appropriate licenses and upload them here!
  • Categorize articles: Figure out what categories to add to each article so that others can find them more easily.
  • Expand articles: There are many wetland stubs which could use extensive updates and development.
  • Find sources: Many of our articles are poorly sourced and could use much better citations.
  • Wikify: Add {{Portal|Wetlands}} to the See also sections of Wetlands-related articles.

Organizations

Topics

Related portals

WikiProjects

Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Wikispecies 
Species