8 economic and environmental importance of wetlands

Wetlands is the land area that is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of distinct ecosystem. In other words wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh brackish or salty, include areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters.

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The following are importance of wetlands:

  • Wetlands prevent flooding by holding water much like a sponge. By doing so wetlands help to keep rivers levels normal and filter and purify surface water.
  • Wetlands release vegetative matter into the river, which help feed fish into the rivers.

  • Many coastal and inland wetlands are popular location for tourist and recreational activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, camping and bird watching
  • Wetlands are highly productive ecosystem that provide the world with nearly two third of its fish harvest.
  • Many animals that live in the other habitat use wetlands for migration and reproduction. For example herons nest in large trees but need shallow areas in order to wade for fish and aquatic life. Amphibians also often forage in uplands areas but return to the water to mate and reproduce
  • Erosion control, emergent plants (plants firmly rooted in muddy bottom bot with stalks above water surface) are able to radically slow the flow of water. As the result they  can counter the erosive forces of moving water along lakes or rivers and in rolling agricultural landscapes
  • Wetlands clean the water by filtering out sediments, decomposing vegetative matter and converting chemicals into useful forms.
  • It support agricultural activities by providing water for irrigation and livestock and for domestic consumption. Pasture on inland floodplain wetland are more productive than those in adjacent areas.

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