Wetlands are areas where the ground is very soggy or covered by water. There are three main types of wetlands. They are swamps, marshes, and bogs.
The plant life in swamps is mostly trees or mostly shrubs. Marshes have plants and grasses. The plant life in bogs is mostly mosses.
Wetlands are located around the world. They are on every continent except Antarctica.
Wetlands exist in all types of climates. They are in places that have hot temperatures, cold temperatures, and mild temperatures.
Types of Water
The water in wetlands can be saltwater, brackish water, or freshwater. The type of water a wetland has depends on where it is.
Wetlands that are located near an ocean often have saltwater from that ocean. Wetlands that are located inland (far from oceans) can have brackish water or freshwater. Brackish water is salty water, but it is less salty than the saltwater in oceans.
Wetlands get their water in many different ways. Wetlands near oceans are flooded with ocean water when ocean tides are high. Inland wetlands get their water from underground springs or from rain. Water from rivers, lakes, and streams can also flow into wetlands.
Many different kinds of plants grow in wetlands. They include water lilies, cattails, bulrushes, and pondweeds. Trees also grow in many wetlands. They include cedars, cypresses, and white pines.
There is one type of tree that only grows in wetlands. It is the mangrove. It grows only in wetlands located along the coast of oceans in hot climates. Mangroves can grow as tall as 200 feet (61 meters) high.
Many different kinds of animals live in wetlands. They include raccoons, skunks, muskrats, squirrels, deer, and opossums.
Many amphibians also live in wetlands. Among them are turtles, frogs, and salamanders.
Birds that live in wetlands include owls, hawks, herons, blue jays, crows, robins, cardinals, kingfishers, ducks, and geese. Many kinds of fish and insects live in wetlands too.
The Importance of Wetlands
Wetlands are important for many reasons. One is that they provide a home for many plants and animals.
Another reason wetlands are important is that they protect nearby areas from flooding. They do this by taking in the extra water from heavy rains and high ocean tides.
The most important job that wetlands perform is absorbing pollution. When it rains, rainwater flows from other places into wetlands, picking up pollution along the way. This pollution may include chemicals, animal feces (poop), and extra nutrients from fertilizer used on nearby farms and lawns.
When the pollution reaches the wetlands, it is absorbed by the plants. This process protects the surrounding environment.
Wetlands are also important to local tourism. They are popular places for people to visit. Visitors enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, bird-watching, and taking pictures of animals and plants.