Wetland classification

Classification of wetlands has been a problematical task, with the commonly accepted definition of what constitutes a wetland being among the major difficulties. A number of national wetland classifications exist. In the 1970s, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance introduced a first attempt to establish an internationally acceptable wetland classification scheme.[1]

Ramsar classificationEdit

The Ramsar classification of wetland types is intended as a means for fast identification of the main types of wetlands for the purposes of the Convention.[2]

The wetlands are classified into three major classes:

  • Marine/coastal wetlands
  • Inland wetlands
  • Human-made wetlands

These are further subdivided by the type of water: fresh / saline / brackish / alkaline; and may be further classified by the substrate type of other characteristics.

National systems of classificationEdit


Wetlands in Australia that considered to be of national importance are so classified by criteria published in association with the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA).[3]

United StatesEdit

Wetlands of the United States are classified according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wetlands Inventory (NWI).[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ " Classification and inventory of wetlands: A global overview", D. A. Scott and T. A. Jones, Plant Ecology, Volume 118, Numbers 1-2, 1995, pp. 3-16, doi:10.1007/BF00045186
  2. ^ "Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type"
  3. ^ "Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  4. ^ http://wetlandsfws.er.usgs.gov/NWI/index.html