Wetlands • An ecotone or transitional zone between land and water • Shallow water, saturated soil, vegetation adapted to waterlogged conditions
Diversity • Wetlands are most physically and chemically heterogenous of all major aquatic ecosystems • No such thing as a “general wetland”
Wetlands Importance • Nesting, rearing habitat for waterfowl • Feeding, breeding areas for fishes • Nutrient, sediment buffer between land, water • Intrinsic aesthetic value
Rapidly Vanishing • Drained for agriculture • Drained for flood control • Drained to eliminate disease
Continuing Losses • Few advocates • Misunderstanding of their importance
Types of Wetlands • Seasonal versus permanent • Seasonal dry out most summers • Productivity of seasonal > permanent
Types of Wetlands • Marshes, swamps, bogs, fens • Dominant plants, amount of peat, source of water • Productivity of marshes > swamps > fens > bogs
Protection & Restoration • Why protect a smelly, inaccessible, insect-ridden wetland? • Why create one at the expense of good, productive land?
Protection & Restoration • Functionality - what do they need to do? • How big to be successful? • Partitioning between seasonal, permanent? • Control access? • Emphasis on protecting rare species, or common ones more important in food chain? • Can important catastrophic events (floods) be simulated?