On the surface of the earth there are many different types of places or areas in which ecosystems develop . Each of these areas has specific characteristics and one of them is the wetland . This type of zone is basically any flat place on the earth in which the ground is covered by water either permanently or seasonally . The water found in them can also be sweet, salty or brackish.
What is a wetland?
The wetlands are an area that is flooded or at the least has the soils saturated with water for long periods of time, which can come from rivers , from rain or underground sources .
- Wetland characteristics
- Wetland flora
- Wetlands location
Although many places on earth have large amounts of water, not all of them can be considered as a wetland. For this, they must have a series of important characteristics which are mentioned below.
- It is a zone considered as a transition zone between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
- They have a very shallow depth .
- They can usually be found on the plains , near rivers or lakes .
- They are completely controlled by water and their flora and fauna depend on it.
- It has a type of soil or substrate that is rocky which allows the saturation of the water that is stagnant in the place.
- Its limits are established by the type of hydrophilic vegetation that exists in the area.
- They are one of the main habitats for many animal species and for plants.
- They are places with a high incidence of solar radiation which causes them to deteriorate.
Wetlands can vary considerably from each other due to the characteristics of the regions where they are located. For this reason, they have been divided into several types which facilitate their study and recognition. These types are as follows:
- Marine : it is the type of wetland that can be found near the coast.
- Estuarines : they are located in the places where the rivers reach the sea. Deltas and mangroves can be found in this group for example .
- Lacustrine : these wetlands are those found in lakes.
- Palustres : they have a swamp-like appearance, such as swamps.
- Ribereños : as their name implies, they are found on the banks of rivers.
- Artificial : this last type of wetland has been created by man with a specific purpose, to make them work as a type of reservoir for the breeding of some aquatic species or for irrigation channels.
Wetlands have an extremely extensive fauna . Many birds can be found at the site, some of them temporary and some permanent. Some of them are pelicans, herons, ducks and bog roosters . Many of the migratory birds come to the wetlands to mate or to rest. The mammals are also abundant in wetlands and is common to find otters, otters and manatees, many of which are endangered. Different types of amphibians and reptiles such as iguana, alligators and barbels can also be found in the area . Also, the fish They turn out to be even the most important resource in the wetland as they are also part of the economy.
The flora that can be found in the wetlands is very varied. The type of vegetation is closely related to the class found in the mangroves . You can find rooted or floating plant species, grasses, pipes and palms. It is also important to mention that in terms of flora it is common to find many endemic species typical of the area. The presence of aquatic plants is essential for the proper functioning of wetlands and these can be of two types, emergent or submerged.
The climate of wetlands is usually very varied and will depend on where it is located. It is important to remember that the wetland can form in areas near the sea, in mountains and in all kinds of latitudes. Climates such as arctic , cold , dry , tropical , arid and even humid can then be found .
The temperature of a wetland can vary considerably as it will depend on where it is located. Generally, many of them have a rainy climate so temperatures tend to be quite cool, ranging between 25 and 30 ° C.
Wetland rainfall tends to be very varied , this also depends on the location and the type of climate that occurs in the area in which they are located. In some of them the rains are intense, especially if they are in rainy areas.
Wetlands can be located in practically all places on the planet regardless of latitude, in fact it is considered that approximately 6 % of the earth’s surface is made up of wetlands. Peatlands can be found in Alaska , Canada , Iceland and Europe . In South America , large wetlands can be found especially in the Amazon and Orinoco basins . Mangroves can also be found in many places, especially in Africa , America and India.
There are several types of activities that are carried out in the wetlands that are also considered as a source of economy. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Fish farming that can be developed in both natural and artificial wetlands.
- Mainly rice crops .
- Livestock especially in wetlands located in plains.
- Breeding of various species for human consumption.
- Tourism , which is one of the main activities that can be carried out in this type of area since some of them are protected in national parks and nature reserves.
- Resources such as wood , fiber and resin which can be found in abundance in a wetland
Wetlands are of great importance both for humans and for animals and plants. They happen to be one of the most productive places on earth and are one of the main cradles for biological diversity . They are also a source of water and are involved in primary productivity . They are essential because they provide fresh water , food and even positively intervene in climate change .
They also regulate the hydrological cycle , biology and chemistry of the planet and are part of one of the most important biological and geographical corridors on the planet by providing shelter, food and breeding grounds for many species of birds, reptiles, fish and mammals. In addition, they act as a type of filter thus preventing the amount of nitrites from accumulating in soils and they function as a natural water purifier thanks to its ability to retain nutrients, sediments and some pollutants.
Some examples of wetlands that can be found on the planet are:
- Pantanal : this is the type of wetland with the largest extension and it is found in Brazil, between the regions of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso du Sul. It is a type of depression that was formed when the Andes mountain range rose and to which many arrive rivers.
- Kurikinka Park : it is located on the Big Island of Tierra del Fuego in Chile and is a private park that contains many mixed forests where mosses and angiosperms predominate.
- Doñana National and Natural Park : located on the Iberian Peninsula, it is an area that is made up of many river and marine deposits, a place where migratory water birds are very common to find.