Restoration of Freshwater Wetlands

Authored by: Paul A. Keddy

Routledge Handbook of Ecological and Environmental Restoration

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138922129
eBook ISBN: 9781315685977
Adobe ISBN:


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All life needs water. Therefore, wetlands have always influenced humans, and been influenced by humans in return. Early agricultural civilizations first arose along the edges of rivers in the fertile soils of floodplains. Wetlands also produce many services for humans – along with fertile soils for agriculture, they provide food such as fish and water birds, and, of course, fresh water. Additionally, wetlands have other vital roles that are less obvious. They produce oxygen, store carbon, and process nitrogen. Since wetlands form at the interface of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, they possess features of both. They are often overlooked in standard books, since terrestrial ecologists focus on drier habitats, while limnologists focus on deeper water. Shallow water, and seasonally flooded areas, fall comfortably into neither category. All wetlands share one causal factor: flooding. Hence, any discussion of wetland ecology has to place a primary focus on getting the water right (Keddy 2010; Middleton 2002; Pierce 2015). While wetlands may be highly variable in appearance and species composition, flooding produces distinctive soil processes and adaptations of the biota. Thus wetlands and water are inseparable.

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