Whether coastal marshes, inland swamps, or remote bogs, wetlands play an important ecological, economic, and cultural role in societies around the world. Wetlands are technically defined by hydrology patterns, soil characteristics and/or types of vegetation present in a certain area. The valuable services they provide include water quality improvement and protection, water storage during flooding, erosion control in coastal areas, and rich and diverse wildlife habitat.
Zambezian halophyticsLast Updated on 2015-05-15 15:26:27
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection
The Zambezian halophytics ecoregion includes two spatially disjunctive units in Southern Africa: The Makgadikgadi Pan complex in Botswana and a smaller hypersaline unit in southern inland Mozambique. One of the largest saltpans in the world, the Makgadikgadi Pan complex in Botswana stretches out over 12,000 square kilometres. The ecoregion is classified within the Flooded Grasslands and Savanna biome.
Surrounded by the semi-arid Kalahari savannas, the pans experience a harsh climate, hot with little rain, and are normally a vast, glaring expanse of salt-saturated clay. These pans are sustained by freshwater from the Nata River, and more infrequently, from input from the Okavango Alluvial Fan by way of the Boteti River. Saline- and drought-tolerant plant species generally line the pan perimeters, with grasslands... More »
PlantLast Updated on 2014-10-28 12:04:37
A plant is any one of the vast number of organisms within the biological kingdom Plantae; in general, these species are considered of limited motility and generally manufacture their own food. They include a host of familiar organisms including trees, forbs, shrubs, grasses, vines, ferns, and mosses. Conventionally the term plant implies a taxon with characteristics of multicellularity, cell structure with walls containing cellulose, and organisms capable of photosynthesis. Modern classification schemes are driven by somewhat rigid categorizations inherent in DNA and common ancestry.
Throughout most of the history of science from Aristotle to Linnaeus and into the 20th century, species were divided into two kingdoms: animals and plants. Driven by DNA characterizations and other modern analysis, fungi and bacteria have now been removed to separate kingdoms; in particular,... More »
Mangrove ecologyLast Updated on 2014-10-19 17:31:46
Mangrove ecology is the study of biotic interactions within mangrove swamp ecosystems. These habitats are significant not only for the biodiversity they represent, but also for the protection of coastal erosion, and for the provision of protected nursery areas for marine fauna.
Mangroves worldwide cover an approximate area of 240 000 square kilometers of sheltered coastlines in the tropics and subtropics.
Mangroves stabilize coastal intertidal soils pereventing coastal erosion
Four of the most common ecotypes include fringe, riverine, basin, and scrub forests.
Mangroves are restricted to the intertidal zone.
Mangroves in general have a great capacity to recover from major natural disturbances.
Mangroves maintain water quality by trapping sediments and taking up excess... More »
WetlandLast Updated on 2014-09-30 10:32:28A wetland is an ecological community that is inundated either year around or seasonally. There are very different properties of freshwater versus saline wetlands. Numerous national, state and provincial agencies have regulatory interests wetlands A chief intent of this article is to provide the reader with special interest in wetland delineation, wetland mitigation and wetland biology with insight to additional sources that will be useful.
Suisun Marsh wetlands. (Source: California Interagency Ecological Program, Suisun Marsh Program)
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the originally published 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual jointly defined wetlands as: “Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to... More »
FreshwaterLast Updated on 2014-09-06 18:32:23
The definition of freshwater is water containing less than 1000 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids, most often salt. The global distribution of freshwater resources varies greatly from region to region (see Figure 1). An 'inventory' of Earth's waters shows that approximately 97% of the global water supply is found in the oceans, which are saline. A very small amount of salty water is also located in saline lakes (e.g., the Caspian Sea). The remaining water inventory (3%) is 'freshwater'. Permanent ice (e.g., continental and mountain glaciers) is the largest freshwater storage on Earth, accounting for about 2% of the total global supply - or nearly 69% of the total freshwater supply. Freshwater is also found beneath the Earth's surface as groundwater (approximately 30% of the total freshwater supply) and in surface water storages such as lakes, streams,... More »
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