What are wetlands

Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year long or for varying periods of time during the year, including the growing season. Water saturation (hydrology) largely determines how the soil develops and the types of plant and animal communities living in and on the soil. Wetlands may support both aquatic and terrestrial species. The prolonged presence of water creates conditions that favor the growth of specially adapted plants (hydrophytes) and promote the development of characteristic wetland (hydric) soils.

Function of the wetlands

The relationships within the wetland ecosystem on physical, biological and chemical constituent wetlands (such as soil, water, plants and animals) make the wetlands perform the following functions:

  • water retention
  • protection against a barrage of storm and flood mitigation
  • bank stabilization and protection against erosion
  • recharge of groundwater resources (passage of water from wetlands to groundwater reservoirs)
  • release of groundwater (water movement into surface waters, wetlands)
  • water purification
  • retention of nutrients
  • trapping sediments
  • capture pollutants
  • stabilization of local climatic conditions, particularly rainfall and temperature