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Wetlands

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. Primarily, the factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that is adapted to its unique soil conditions: Wetlands consist primarily of hydric soil, which supports aquatic plants.

The water found in wetlands can be saltwaterfreshwater, or brackish. Main wetland types include swampsmarshesbogs and fens. Sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea.

Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, 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. They can also be constructed artificially as a water management tool, which may play a role in the developing field of water-sensitive urban design.

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