Environmental scientists in Leiden have found that the so-called leaf economics spectrum for plants can not only be applied to terrestrial ecosystems, such as forests and grasslands, but also to wetlands. We use a wealth of natural products from wetlands, including fish and shellfish, blueberries, cranberries, timber and wild rice. Wetlands play an integral role in the ecology of the watershed. Some of these services, or functions, include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. The destruction of wetlands is a concern because they are some of the most productive habitats on the planet. The functions of a wetland and the values of these functions to humans depend on a complex set of relationships between the wetland and the other ecosystems in the watershed. This provides a traits-based explanation for observations that wetlands have high herbivory rates and generally high productivity, both of which are stimulated by fast-return strategies.’, Yingji Pan et al. Wetlands produce a number of commercially important products. More than one-third of the United States' threatened and endangered species live only in wetlands, and nearly half use wetlands at some point in their lives. For others, such as striped bass, peregrine falcon, otter, black bear, raccoon and deer, wetlands provide important food, water or shelter. The holding capacity of wetlands helps control floods and prevents water logging of crops. For many animals and plants such as wood ducks, muskrat, cattails and swamp rose, inland wetlands are the only places they can live. Civil news update on transfer of court assessed claims to LAA, Human Services Dashboard update 16 January. The Letsolo team would like to take the opportunity to educate the community regarding why it’s so important for us to protect these wetlands – and how exactly to go about it. Wetlands furnish a wealth of natural products, including fish, timber, wild rice, and furs. Nature Communications (2020). Wetlands' microbes, plants and wildlife are part of global cycles for water, nitrogen and sulfur. The leaf economics spectrum can be applied to varied non-wetland terrestrial ecosystems globally, such as forests and grasslands. These plants, therefore, occupy the fast-return end of the spectrum. For example, plants from nutrient-rich habitats usually have higher leaf nutrient content, faster photosynthetic and dark respiration rate, but shorter leaf lifespan. That is why they occupy the slow-return end of the spectrum. See the Wetland Factsheet Series for more information about wetlands. Wetlands store carbon within their plant communities and soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This can be seen in the fact that pastures on inland floodplain wetlands are more productive than those in adjacent areas. Wetlands are some of the world’s most diverse and productive systems. Wetlands tend to flow or are open to rivers/lakes. So, by protecting and restoring wetlands, not only are we helping the environment, we’re helping ourselves. So, by protecting and restoring wetlands, not only are we helping the environment, we’re helping ourselves. Furthermore, scientists are beginning to realize that atmospheric maintenance may be an additional wetlands function. Wetlands are the link between land and water and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Another big reason wetlands are important is that they are one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Unfortunately, any kind of Wetland has suffered in size because of human development. Well, for starters, they are the most productive ecosystem known! Depending on the type of wetland, it may be filled mostly with trees, grasses, shrubs or moss. Furthermore, they showed that wetland plants generally have a fast-return strategy, meaning they have higher metabolic rates and a faster return on investment of nutrient and leaf materials, but shorter leaf lifespan. Many of the U.S. breeding bird populations-- including ducks, geese, woodpeckers, hawks, wading birds and many song-birds-- feed, nest and raise their young in wetlands. The ability of wetlands to control erosion is so valuable that some states are restoring wetlands in coastal areas to buffer the storm surges from hurricanes and tropical storms. Why wetlands are amazing Health benefits Studies have shown that spending time in or near nature helps ill people to recuperate faster, and reduces stress levels. Pan: ‘Given that the analysis was based on a global database, this seems a generic feature of wetlands. Fish, shellfish, blueberries, cranberries, timber, and wild rice are all harvested from wetlands. These include natural water quality improvement, flood protection, shoreline erosion control, opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation and natural products for our use at no cost. Wetlands are highly productive and biologically diverse systems that enhance wa- ter quality, control erosion, maintain stream flows, sequester carbon, and provide a home to at least one third of all threatened and endangered species. Thus wetlands help to moderate global climate conditions. Because warmer waters are more productive, wetlands may end up overrun by algae, which degrades water quality and poses health problems­ to humans and animals. In the Southeast, for example, nearly all the commercial catch and over half of the recreational harvest are fish and shellfish that depend on the estuary-coastal wetland system. Because wetlands are often transition zones (ecotones) between terrestrial and deepwater aquatic systems, many processes have major implications for species. Because wetlands are so productive and because they greatly influence the flow and quality of water, they are valuable to us. These animals use wetlands for part of or all of their life-cycle. Bryce Benda. The world’s wetlands account for some 6% of the earth’s total surface and can be found on every continent except Antarctica, although most of them are situated in tropical and subtropical regions. Climate, landscape shape (topology), geology and the movement and abundance of water help to determine the plants and animals that inhabit each wetland. Climate, landscape shape (topology), geology and the movement and abundance of water help to determine the plants and animals that inhabit each wetland. Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, Wetlands are vital for human survival. The ability of wetlands to control erosion is so valuable that some states are restoring wetlands in coastal areas to buffer the storm surges from hurricanes and tropical storms. Many amphibians and fish begin their life in wetland … Why Are Wetlands So Important To The Environment ... Due to the levels of nutrients, freshwater marshes are one of the most productive ecosystems on the earth. Executive Order 11988: Floodplain Management - an order given by President Carter in 1977 to avoid the adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains. These valuable functions are the result of the unique natural characteristics of wetlands. Some wetlands, like vernal pools, are actually dry at certain times of the year. The algae bloom known as red tide releases toxins, which have killed thousands of … Environmental scientists in Leiden have found that the so-called leaf economics spectrum for plants can not only be applied to terrestrial ecosystems, such as forests and grasslands, but also to wetlands. The findings, published in Nature Communications, help explain the high productivity of plants in wetland ecosystems. Bryce Benda. Combating carbon emissions Peat wetlands alone store more carbon in the soil than rainforests do. Trees, root mats and other wetland vegetation also slow the speed of flood waters and distribute them more slowly over the floodplain. Preserving and restoring wetlands together with other water retention can often provide the level of flood control otherwise provided by expensive dredge operations and levees. We don't put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. The findings, published in Nature Communications, help explain the high productivity of plants in wetland ecosystems. Louisiana's coastal marshes are tremendously valuable for their commercial fish and shellfish harvest. Why are wetlands so ecologically productive, and what valuable ecosystem services do they provide to humans? Why are wetlands important to people? Shrimp, oysters, clams, and blue and Dungeness crabs likewise need these wetlands for food, shelter and breeding grounds. Well, for starters, they are the most productive ecosystem known! Global patterns of the leaf economics spectrum in wetlands. Protecting wetlands can protect our safety and welfare. Wetlands are some of the planet’s most productive ecosystems, supporting immense biodiversity. Wetlands furnish natural products, including fish, timber, wild rice, and furs. The bottomland hardwood- riparian wetlands along the Mississippi River once stored at least 60 days of floodwater. 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