Functions of Wetlands

There are many ecological functions that  wetlands perform.  Here are the benefits that are provided by wetlands.

  •         Water purification
  •         Flood protection
  •         Shoreline stabilization
  •         Groundwater renewing and stream flow maintenance
  •         Habitat for fish and wildlife
  •         Preserving Nature
  •         Source of Natural Products

Water purification

Wetlands have the capacity to maintain and improve water quality. the natural diversity of plants and animals that are found in wetlands can act as filtering systems. They can remove sediment, nutrients and pollutants from the water that is underground.

Flood protection

Wetlands act as natural sponges that trap water. It then releases the water slowly. The water that wetlands purify include surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters. Trees, root mats as well as other wetland vegetation can slow the rate at which flood waters travel. The vegetation then distributes them more gradually over the floodplain.  The ability of wetlands to store as well as brake water lowers flood heights and reduces erosion. 

Shoreline stabilization

Wetlands that are along shores of lakes can protect against erosion. This is because there is vegetation in those wetlands.  Erosion is mostly cau0sed by waves along shorelines during floods as well as storms.

Groundwater renewing and Stream Flow Maintenance

Wetlands remove pollutants from surface water, improving the quality of water in the process. These pollutants come from water that is washed away by rainfall from urban and agricultural lands. The pollutants include soil particles, fertilizers, pesticides, grease and oil from cars and lorries, as well as road salts. When water flows into wetland, it spreads out into the vegetation. The speed of the water is then reduced, this allows suspended material to settle.

Habitat for fish and wildlife

Most endangered species live in wetlands. There are so many plants and animals that depend on wetlands for survival. There are some spices that must have wetlands in order to survive, these include Estuarine and marine fish and shellfish, various birds and certain mammals. Menhaden, flounder, sea trout, spot, croaker and striped bass are among some of the fish that depen9d on wetlands. Shrimp, oysters, clams, and blue and Dungeness crabs also depend on wetlands for food, shelter as well as breeding grounds. Some of these species that depend on wetlands for survival may become extinct if wetlands are destroyed.

Preserving Nature

Wetlands are the most produc-tive ecosystems in the world. There are a variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals that can be part of a wetland ecosystem. The climate, landscape shape , geology as well as the movement and richness of water may help  determine whi0ch plants and animals can inhabit each and every wetland.

Source of Natural Products

The natural products that can be found in wetlands include  fish and shellfish, blueberries, cranberries, timber and wild rice. There are also some medicines that are found in wetland soils as well as plants. There are some local economies that are sustained by fish and shellfish that are harvested from wetlands.