A wetland is an area of land or soil that is covered by water. Hydrology, which is the study of water in the environment, is a big determinant of how the soil develops . For the most part, wetlands usually contain a much more shallow amount of water in comparison to an ocean or river. While some contain water year around and some only seasonal, wetlands are classified as transition zones . They are homes to many different species of animals and play an extremely important role in today’s society.
How wetlands form
Flooding and precipitation are two of the main ways a wetland is formed. The overflowing of nearby bodies of water often causes soil to saturate, ultimately forming a wetland. They aren’t just limited to solid ground but can also be found on mountains due to precipitation . For those who don’t know what precipitation is, it can be defined as the falling product of condensation .
Why wetlands matter
Wetlands are not only a place many species call home, but provide many benefits to society. Some of those include storing floodwater, storm protection, water filtration, and erosion control. Without wetlands, not only would flooding water be a huge problem but many species of animals that live in them would probably have trouble adapting to new environments to call home . A few animals that call wetlands their homes include alligators, birds, fish, otters, and bobcats. The animals range widely in species and type.
Different types of wetlands
Although there are over thirty different types of wetlands, there are three main categories known as Marshes, Swamps, and Bogs and Fens . A marsh is mostly grassy with shallow water that could be salt or freshwater. They usually contain animals like alligators and turtles. On the other hand, a swamp usually has water that streams a bit deeper and include streams and rivers. They are normally found in coastal areas. Lastly, we have Bogs and Fens, which are both freshwater wetlands. While a bog forms with a spongy base, a fen is covered in wildflowers and grass. These types of wetlands tend to contain more insects than animals. Overall, there are many types of soggy land classified as wetlands.
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Other closely related articles in this wiki include:
- , O. (2015, November 17). What is a Wetland? [Overviews and Factsheets]. Retrieved February 4, 2016, from http://www.epa.gov/wetlands/what-wetland
- Winter, T. (N.D.). Wetlands - river, depth, freshwater, important, types, system, plants, source, marine, oxygen, human. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Tw-Z/Wetlands.html
- Merriam-Webster. (N.D.). Definition of PRECIPITATION. Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precipitation
- World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). Freshwater Wetlands. Retrieved March 3, 2016, from http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/ecoregions/about/habitat_types/habitats/freshwater_wetlands/
- Defenders of Wildlife. (2012, April 24). Types of Wetlands. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from http://www.defenders.org/wetlands/types-wetlands
Relevant online sources to this wiki article include:
- The home page of EPA Wetlands Protection and Restoration, "America's vital link between land and water!"
- Encyclopedia of Earth - an article further discussing wetlands.
- Encyclopedia of Earth focusing on Ecosystems.
- Table of continental runoff values ranked by continent and measured by Unit per Area.
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