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Important wetlands in the RSA Importance of wetlands Useful links Ramsar Sites in the RSA

DEFINITION OF A WETLAND


UWC Enviro Facts
"Wetlands are difficult to define because of their great variation in size and location. The most important features of wetlands are: Waterlogged soils or soils covered with a shallow layer of water (permanently or seasonally), unique types of soil, and distinctive plants adapted to water-saturated soils. Marshes, bogs, swamps, vleis and sponges are examples of wetlands."

Rennies Wetland project
"A wetland is wet land (i.e. land which is wet) ! But not all wet land results in a wetland. Why is this so? A wetland is found where the land is wet enough (i.e. saturated or flooded) for long enough to be unfavourable to most plants but are favourable to plants adapted to anaerobic soil conditions. As soil becomes increasingly wet, the water starts to, fill the space; between the soil particles. When all the spaces are filled with water the soil is said to be saturated. In areas which are not wetlands, water drains away quickly and the soil does not remain saturated. However, in wetlands the water persists or drains away very slowly and the soil remains saturated or flooded for long periods. Soil in these conditions is said to be waterlogged. Depending on factors such as temperature, it usually takes a week or so for the plant roots and other living organisms in the soil to use up the oxygen, causing anaerobic conditions to develop in the waterlogged soil."

Endangered Wildlife Trust
  • "Wetlands are ecosystems or habitats for specific plants and animals that are saturated with water. The presence or absence of water determines their formation, processes and characteristics.
  • Wetlands are characterised by specific vegetation, particular soils and the presence of water at least for a period of time in the year. A wetland may have all of these characteristics or only one or two of them.
  • Floodplains, marshes, bogs, deltas, swamps, peatlands, estuaries, river catchments and lakes are all types of wetland.
  • Wetlands occur in areas ranging from higher altitude mountain ranges (seeps), through to mid-catchment areas (marshes), through to estuaries at the coast.
  • Some wetlands are constantly wet but others temporarily dry up.
  • The type of wetland present depends on the soils, the rainfall, climate and the topography."

Useful links
The Ramsar Convention of Wetlands

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