, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 623–640

A Classification of Major Naturally-Occurring Amazonian Lowland Wetlands


    • Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA)
  • Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade
    • Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)
  • Jochen Schöngart
    • Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department
  • Mario Cohn-Haft
    • Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)
  • J. Marion Adeney
    • Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke University
  • Florian Wittmann
    • Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department
Featured Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13157-011-0190-7

Cite this article as:
Junk, W.J., Piedade, M.T.F., Schöngart, J. et al. Wetlands (2011) 31: 623. doi:10.1007/s13157-011-0190-7


Our estimates indicate that about 30% of the seven million square kilometers that make up the Amazon basin comply with international criteria for wetland definition. Most countries sharing the Amazon basin have signed the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance but still lack complete wetland inventories, classification systems, and management plans. Amazonian wetlands vary considerably with respect to hydrology, water and soil fertility, vegetation cover, diversity of plant and animal species, and primary and secondary productivity. They also play important roles in the hydrology and biogeochemical cycles of the basin. Here, we propose a classification system for large Amazonian wetland types based on climatic, hydrological, hydrochemical, and botanical parameters. The classification scheme divides natural wetlands into one group with rather stable water levels and another with oscillating water levels. These groups are subdivided into 14 major wetland types. The types are characterized and their distributions and extents are mapped.


Amazon basinHigher vegetationHydrologyWater types

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2011