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Wetlands Portal

Introduction

A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life. Wetlands occur naturally on every continent except Antarctica, the largest including the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, and the Pantanal in South America. The water found in wetlands can be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater. The main wetland types include swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens; and sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. International conservation efforts are being used in conjunction with the development of rapid assessment tools to inform people about wetland issues.

Constructed wetlands can be used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater as well as stormwater runoff and they also play a role in water-sensitive urban design.

Selected article

Bog ore
Bog ore
Bog iron is a form of impure iron deposit that develops in bogs or swamps by the chemical or biochemical oxidation of iron carried in solution. In general, bog ores consist primarily of iron oxyhydroxides, commonly goethite (FeO(OH)).

Iron-bearing groundwater typically emerges as a spring. The iron is oxidized to ferric hydroxide upon encountering the oxidizing environment of the surface. Bog ore often combines goethite, magnetite and vugs or stained quartz. Oxidation may occur through enzyme catalysis by iron bacteria. It is not clear whether the magnetite precipitates upon first contact with oxygen, then oxidizes to ferric compounds, or whether the ferric compounds are reduced when exposed to anoxic conditions upon burial beneath the sediment surface and reoxidized upon exhumation at the surface.

Iron made from bog ore will often contain residual silicates, which can form a glassy coating that grants some resistance to rusting.

Iron smelting from bog iron was invented during the Pre-Roman Iron Age, and most Viking era iron was smelted from bog iron. The bog iron deposits of Northern and Northeastern Europe were created after the Ice Age ended, on postglacial plains. In Russia, bog ore was the principal source of iron until the 16th century, when the superior ores of Ural Mountains became available. (Full article...)

General images

The following are images from various wetland-related articles on Wikipedia.

Law

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Billabong at Berrinba Wetlands
Billabong at Berrinba Wetlands
Billabong at Berrinba Wetlands, Logan City, Australia.

Did you know...

that wetlands are often used for fish farming?
... that wetlands are often used for fish farming?

(Pictured left: Community fish-farming ponds in Masi-Manimba.)

Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

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