A characteristic attribute of wetland used for defining this biome is water saturation. Yes, the soil in this biome is damp and swampy. There is no specific location for wetland biome, but it is found in nearly all parts of the world. It is a type of landform in tropical rainforest and temperate forest. Functional wise, it is one of the richest biomes with semi-aquatic conditions. In fact, wetland provides food and shelter for numerous birds, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. No wonder, it is regarded as a biotic system essential for the landscape.
What is Wetland Biome?
The intermediate zone between a water body and adjacent land is a wetland. Thus, it has characteristics of both wet and terrestrial ecosystems. In ecological studies, wetland is also identified as an ecosystem, a biological system that encompasses living beings and their environment. In this system or unit, a close interaction is observed amongst the organisms (plants, animals and microbes) and also, with their physical environment. Thus, wetland represents a group of dominant flora and fauna, which are adapted to the prevailing soil and climatic conditions.
Interesting Facts about Wetland Biome
Wetlands are typically found in low-lying regions. But, depending upon where the wetland biome is located, it is saturated with freshwater, saline water or a mixture of both (near estuaries). In most cases, wetlands consist of areas having stagnant water for some part of the year. And in such areas, shrubs and trees adaptable to waterlogged soil are dominant plant forms. They again provide protection and shelter to many wildlife species, including birds, insects, reptiles, etc.
The following is a brief info about wetland biome facts, which you will find interesting.
- Despite the name, wetlands may remain dry in specific seasons, which are followed by a wet season. As a matter of fact, wetland ecosystems are absent in geographical areas, which remain frozen at all times of the year.
- Regarding wetland biome climate, it depends upon actual location of the biome. Most wetlands are found in temperate regions, where winters remain cold and summers are warm. But, wetland biomes located near the equatorial zone are warm throughout the year.
- The temperature in some wetlands are below freezing point in winter, and summer temperature measures about 50° C in other wetlands. Annual rainfall also fluctuates according to the location, and may range from 72-200 inch per year.
- The size of wetland biotic communities differ drastically. Some are measured in terms of feet, and are nothing more than swampy regions stretched over small areas. However, you will also come across wetlands that are very long or extended over large areas.
- The largest wetlands are located in Florida. Irrespective of whether the ecosystem is large or small, wetlands represent a rich biodiversity. This is because, organisms that can live in swamps, wet areas and land can thrive on this semi-aquatic biome.
- Examples of wetland biome includes bogs, marches, fens and swamps. The signature plants of wetland biome are hydrophytes, such as mangroves, black spruce tree, cypress, tamarack, water lily, sedge and cattail amongst others.
- The wetlands are dwelling places for several birds, like geese, swans, ducks, herons, waterfowls and waders. In addition, the list of wetland biome animals include frogs, lizards, crocodiles, alligators, rats, beavers and minks.
- Wetlands saturated with saline water are dwelling places for shellfish, shrimp and other marine fish. Likewise, the floating, submerged and emergent plants adaptable to this biome differs from the wetlands that are fed with freshwater.
- The wetland biome is such an ecological feature that practically reduces water pollution. What happens is, water draining from agricultural and areas or household sewage that contains pollutants are filtered before meeting the water body.
- In terms of ecosystem functioning, wetland is nothing less than a buffer zone. It filters incoming water and removes wastes, prevents soil from getting eroded, reduces flooding and absorbs greenhouse gases.
- Possible threats to the wetland biome are pollution effects, exploitation by humans, land encroachment activities and global warming. All these factors bring about shrinking of wetland biomes, and complete loss of some wetlands.
To conclude with, wetland biome is crucial to ensure normal functioning of any biotic community. But, the sad part is, global reduction of wetlands in the last few decades has resulted in the decline of population of species, which inhabit the swampy areas at a fast rate. One such instance is, several wild waterfowl species are included in the endangered animals list, and a major threat to these birds is loss of habitat. To avoid such cases, different organizations have taken up the initiative to preserve wetlands. Also, restoration programs are being implemented to expand existing wetlands.