Wetlands are among the world’s most productive ecosystems, much like rain forests. There are many different types of wetlands around the world, and they are all homes to numerous organisms and species. Wetlands play various roles, including water cleansing, storing floodwaters, preparing of carbon and different nutrients, adjusting of shorelines, and being a support for plants and creatures.
Wildlife Depend on Wetland Habitats
Wetlands habitats play an important roll for many animals such as fish, birds, and reptiles. Many of these animal rely on wetland for their unique plants that have adapted to grow in these environments. Fish and reptiles may use the wetlands as a nursery to have their young. The dense vegetation not only gives a source of food for the young but also provides many hiding places from predators. Birds use wetlands as places to stop along their migratory routes to rest and find food. Without wetlands, many of these animals would not have the conditions necessary to survive to adulthood.
Wetlands Help Protect Us from Storms and Keeps Flood Water at Bay
Coastal wetlands provide natural protection from Hurricanes. A study two years ago found that coastal wetlands prevented more than US$625 million in property damages during Hurricane Sandy, reducing property damages throughout the Northeast US by 10% on average.
Visit http://www.lloyds.com/coastalresilience to download the full report.
Having wetlands around also means you have a lesser chance of having your home flooded. Wetlands briefly store water and slowly release storm and flood water, enabling it to permeate into the ground or dissipate. This process (acting like a giant sponge) lessens potential peak flooding.
Wetlands Purify Water
Wetlands clean water by acting as natural filtering systems, removing excess nutrients, sediment and toxins from water.
This process of removing and recycling nutrients and sediment is crucial to the overall function of our planet, and, in many place, artificial wetlands have been created for the purpose of recreating this water purification system.
Wetlands Process Carbon and Nutrient Processing
In addition to filtering water, wetlands are also carbon sequestration systems, meaning they have the ability to store excess carbon, the main building block of all life on earth. As carbon, in the form of organic material (e.g. eroded soil, leaves, plant debris etc.), is washed into low wetland areas, it settles into wetlands where it becomes part of the wetland sediment through decomposition or burial.