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A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. Primarily, the factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that is adapted to its unique soil conditions: Wetlands consist primarily of hydric soil, which supportsaquatic plants.[3][4]

The water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater, or brackish.[4] Main wetland types include swamps, marshes, bogs andfens.[5] Sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.[6]

Wetlands occur naturally on every continent except Antarctica.[7] They can also be constructed artificially as a water management tool, which may play a role in the developing field of water-sensitive urban design.

The largest wetlands in the world include the Amazon River basin and the West Siberian Plain.[8] Another large wetland is thePantanal, which straddles Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay in South America.[9]

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. International conservation efforts are being used in conjunction with the development of rapid assessment tools to inform people about wetland issues.

[edit]DefinitionsEdit

A patch of land that develops pools of water after a rain storm would not be considered a "wetland," even though the land is wet. Wetlands have unique characteristics: they are generally distinguished from other water bodies or landforms based on their water level and on the types of plants that thrive within them. Specifically, wetlands are characterized as having a water table that stands at or near the land surface for a long enough period each year to support aquatic plants.[10][11]

A more concise definition is a community composed of hydric soil and hydrophytes.[7]

Wetlands have also been described as ecotones, providing a transition between dry land and water bodies.[12] Mitsch and Gosselink write that wetlands exist "...at the interface between truly terrestrial ecosystems and aquatic systems, making them inherently different from each other, yet highly dependent on both."[13]

In environmental decision-making, there are subsets of definitions that are agreed upon to make regulatory and policy decisions.

What native species of reptiles and amphibians can be found here?Edit

A wetland habitat is a great ecosystem for grass snakes. You are very likely to find one in this habitat throughout the most of the UK. Adders may occasionally be found if the wetland is within a heath etc. Common lizards may inhabit the drier areas of the wetland. Wetland are great places for the common frog & toad. All 3 native newts can be found within a wetland espacially the smooth newt; the great crested and palmate newt may only be found here if it's near of in a place where they inhabit: the same goes for the pool frog.