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Cambridge Books Online

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Aquatic Ecosystems
Trends and Global Prospects
Edited by Nicholas V. C. Polunin
Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511751790
Online ISBN: 9780511751790
Hardback ISBN: 9780521833271
Chapter
PART III - FRESHWATER WETLANDS pp. 111-112
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511751790.011
Cambridge University Press
Part III
Freshwater wetlands
111
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511751790.011
Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2011
In this book, the term wetlands identies ecosystems that,
in contrast to deep and open-water systems (lakes, rivers and
oceans), possess abundant aquatic herbaceous and/or woody
vegetation that thrives in shallow water, on periodically or
permanently water-saturated substrate. Most wetlands are
sandwiched between land and water and hence are apt to be
considered as only transitional habitats or landwater eco-
tones. Wetlands encompass freshwater systems as well as a
number of marine systems that will be addressed later in the
book (Chapters 1113). Inland wetlands cover a wide range
of habitats such as seasonal or permanent marshes with
herbaceous vegetation, swamps with woody vegetation, and
bogs and fens with peat accumulation. Flood plains, dealt
with previously (Chapter 4), are also generally recognized as
a type of wetland.
Wetlands rst attracted attention because of their
importance as habitats for wildlife, particularly waterfowl,
but their high biodiversity and productivity as well as
other ecosystem functions have now been recognized.
This recognition has coincided with increased concern
about the extent of wetland loss, especially to agriculture
by drainage and reclamation, along with degradation due
to altered water regimes, habitat alteration, pollution and
eutrophication, invasive species, and overharvesting. The
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has helped promote
measures for the wise use and conservation of these
ecosystems, including their restoration, but they continue
to bear the brunt of economic development around the
world.
The three chapters in this part deal with freshwater
systems grouped roughly by latitudal range into cool
temperate bog and mire (peatlands; Chapter 8), temperate
(Chapter 9) and tropical (Chapter 10) wetlands. Although
ood plains and saltmarshes are addressed as entities in
Chapters 4 and 11 respectively, they receive additional
attention in this part.
112 PART I I I
Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online by IP 117.211.87.42 on Mon Nov 28 07:47:23 GMT 2011.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511751790.011
Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press, 2011