Molly McGraw

in Geography

ISBN: 9780199874002
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:

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  • Earth Sciences and Geography
  • Human Geography



Wetlands are a broad category of natural habitats that occupy almost all of the world’s biomes. Wetlands can be found from the high Arctic to tropical rainforests and from alpine elevations to areas below sea level. Wetlands may be freshwater, saltwater, or somewhere in between. They are prime habitat for waterfowl, but they may also host species as varied as the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), and freshwater crawfish (family Astacidae in the Northern Hemisphere and families Parastacidae and Austroastracidae in the Southern Hemisphere). Although there are a large variety of wetlands, they all are essentially wet habitats either with standing water (i.e., present year round) or intermittent saturation. Whatever the situation, water inundation influences the soil development and the type of vegetation present. Worldwide wetlands are under increasing pressure from sea-level rise associated with climate change, increasing human populations, and mineral extraction. Most of the world’s wetlands have been degraded and in some cases destroyed. Since the start of the environmental movement in the 1970s, there has been a push in applied wetland research in the area of wastewater treatment and soil remediation. Wetlands excel in both these areas. The economic value and protection of the world’s wetlands through the use of international organizations and governmental policy are also important areas in wetlands research. This article presents the major fields of wetlands research. The first part of the article is reference material. Here, major wetland and wetland-related organizations are listed, which is followed by a list of the premier international academic journals that routinely publish wetland-related research. Also presented are the leading general and topical wetland reference books and textbooks; these books were written by leaders in their respective areas. The second half of the article presents selected academic papers organized into major fields of research: Biogeochemistry, Hydrology, Geography, Climate Change, Degradation, Restoration, Creation, Phytoremediation, Wastewater Treatment, Remote Sensing, Economics and Policy, and Mitigation. The selected papers are either groundbreaking or classic papers that are heavily cited or were written by scientists who have distinguished themselves as leaders in their field. Both general and in-depth papers are included in each of the fields.

Article.  11218 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Human Geography

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