Chapter

Consequences for Wetlands of a Changing Global Environment

Mark Brinson

in Ecology of Freshwater and Estuarine Wetlands

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247772
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932890 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247772.003.0012
Consequences for Wetlands of a Changing Global Environment

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Few ecosystems are so dependent on water as wetlands, and thus vulnerable to changes in water sources and evapotranspiration. Wetlands may alternatively serve as sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus ameliorating climate change, and as sources of methane, thus contributing to atmospheric warming. This chapter explores the scenarios for climate change, with increasing temperature as a given, but change in water balance being much less predictable. It discusses the effects of increasing temperature on biota, along with altered water balance and increasing carbon dioxide concentrations. In some cases, very different conclusions can be drawn depending on whether species populations or ecosystems are being considered. Recognition of wetland types, which vary in the relative importance of water sources, is used as a way to examine scenarios in response to global change. How species redistribute themselves along changing moisture and temperature gradients will depend on dispersal powers and geographic barriers, some of which are the result of human activities. In contrast, the dispersal of invasive species is testimony that human activities have lowered geographic barriers.

Keywords: wetlands; climate change; carbon dioxide; temperature; water balance; biota; moisture; dispersal; geographic barriers; invasive species

Chapter.  10358 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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