, Volume 118, Issue 1–2, pp 185–192 | Cite as

Wetland classification and inventory: A summary

  • C. M. Finlayson
  • A. G. van der Valk


Regional, national and local wetland classifications have been developed and successfully applied. These have invariably been orientated towards conservation and management goals, and the information used to assess wetland loss or to assign management priorities. Existing national and regional classification systems have not only been useful, but they provide an essential base for developing an international system. At the international level, differences among existing systems in the definition of a wetland and how wetland types are defined assume great importance and need to be resolved. Classification is an essential prerequisite for wetland inventory. A number of international inventories have been undertaken, although these have not generally utilized the available high technology and data storage systems available through remote sensing and geographic information systems. More extensive international inventories will require standardization of techniques for data collection, storage and dissemination. A minimum data set needs to be defined with standards for data accuracy. An international committee under the auspices of an international agency (e.g. IWRB, Ramsar Bureau, IUCN) needs to be established to develop an international classification system and guidelines for carrying out a complete inventory of the world's wetlands.

Key words

Classification Conservation Inventory Management Wetland 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atta, G. A. M. & Sorensen, U. G. 1992. Waterbird populations and the loss and degradation of wetlands in Egypt. pp. 125–129. In: Finlayson, C. M., Hollis, G. E. & Davis, T. J. (eds), Managing Mediterranean wetlands and their birds. IWRB Special Publication No. 20. IWRB, Slimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  2. Brinson, M. M. 1993. A hydrogeomorphic classification for wetlands. Wetlands Research Program Technical Report WRP-DE-4. U.S. Army Engineers Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS, USA.Google Scholar
  3. Burgis, M. J. & Symoens, J. J. (eds) 1987. African wetlands and shallow water bodies. ORSTOM, Paris.Google Scholar
  4. Carp, E. 1980. A directory of Western Palearetic wetlands. UNEP, Nairobi & IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  5. Casado, S., Florin, M., Molla, S. & Montes, C. 1992. Current status of Spanish wetlands. pp. 56–58. In: Finlayson, C. M., Hollis, G. E. & Davis, T. J. (eds), Managing Mediterranean wetlands and their birds. IWRB Special Publication No. 20. IWRB, Stimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  6. Cowardin, L. M. & Golet, F. C. 1995. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1979 wetland classification — a review. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  7. Cowardin, L. M., Carter, V., Golet, F. C. & LaRoe, E. T. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service FWS/OBS 79/31.Google Scholar
  8. DeRoy, R. & Hussain, S. A. (eds) 1993. Directory of Indian wetlands. WWF-India, New Delhi and Asian Wetland Bureau, Kuala Lumpur. 240 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Dugan, P. J. 1990. Wetland conservation — a review of current issues and required action. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  10. Environmental Defense Fund and World Wildlife Fund. 1992. How wet is a wetland? Environmental Defense Fund, New York, NY and World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  11. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Wetlands Subcommittee. 1994. Strategic interagency approach to developing a national digital wetlands data base (second approximation). Federal Geographic Data Committee, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  12. Garcia-Orcoyen Tormo, C., Vallecillo, C. G. & Valladares, A. M. 1992. How many inland Mediterranean wetlands will there be in the year 2000? pp. 28–31. In: Finlayson, C. M., Hollis, G. E. & Davis, T. J. (eds), Managing Mediterranean wetlands and their birds. IWRB Special Publication No. 20. IWRB, Slimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  13. Gopal, B. & Sah, M. 1995. Inventory and classification of wetlands in India. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  14. Gopal, B., Kvet, J., Loffler, H., Masing, V. & Patten, B. C. 1990. Definition and classification. pp. 9–15. In: Patten, B. C. (ed.), Wetlands and shallow continental water bodies. SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague.Google Scholar
  15. Grimmett, R. F. A. & Jones, T. A. 1989. Important bird areas in Europe. ICBP Technical Publication No. 9, ICBP, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  16. Heliotis, F. D. 1988. An inventory and review of the wetland resources of Greece. Wetlands 8, 1–18.Google Scholar
  17. Hess, L. H., Melack, J. M. & Simonett, D. S. 1990. Radar detection of flooding beneath the forest canopy. International Journal of Remote Sensing 11: 1313–1325.Google Scholar
  18. Hollis, G. E. 1990. Wetland systems: science, management, control and controllers. pp. 20–28. In: Kusler, J. A. & Day, S. (eds), Wetlands and river corridor management. Association of Wetland Managers, Inc, New York.Google Scholar
  19. Hollis, G. E. & Jones, T. A. 1991. Europe and the Mediterranean basin. In: Finlayson, M. & Moser, M. (eds), Wetlands. Facts on File, Oxford.Google Scholar
  20. Hollis, G. E., Patterson, J. H., Papayannis, T. & Finlayson, C. M. 1992. Sustaining wetlands: policies, programmes and partnerships. pp. 281–285. In: Finlayson, C. M., Hollis, G. E. & Davis, T. J. (eds), Managing Mediterranean wetlands and their birds. IWRB Special Publication No. 20. IWRB, Slimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  21. Hudec, K., Husak, S., Janda, J. & Pellantova, J. 1993. Survey of aquatic and wetland biotopes of the Czech Republic. Czech Ramsar Committee, Trebon, Czech Republic. 32 pp.Google Scholar
  22. Hughes, J. M. R. 1995. The current status of European wetland inventories and classifications. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  23. Hughes, R. H. & Hughes, S. 1992. A directory of African wetlands. UNEP, Nairobi & IUCN, Gland Switzerland/WCMC, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  24. Leiderman, E. & Mermet, L. 1991. Mise en Place d'un Observatoire de Zones Humides. Identification de Zones Humides d'Importance Majeure au Plan National. Ministère de l'Environnement — DNP, AIDA & SPRN unpublished report.Google Scholar
  25. Lu, J. 1990. Wetlands in China (in Chinese). East China Normal University Press, Shanghai, China. 177 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Lu, J. 1995. Ecological significance and classification of Chinese wetlands. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  27. Luther, H. & Rzoska, J. 1971. Project Aqua: a source book of inland waters proposed for conservation. IBP Handbook No. 21, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.Google Scholar
  28. Maamouri, F. & Hughes, J. 1992. Prospects for wetlands and water-fowl in Tunisia. pp. 47–52. In: Finlayson, C. M., Hollis, G. E. & Davis, T. J. (eds), Managing Mediterranean wetlands and their birds. IWRB Special Publication No. 20. IWRB, Slimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  29. Marti, C. 1988. Zones d'Importance Internationale pour les oiseaux d'eau en Suisse; Cartes commentées pour la première révision de l'inventaire, 1987. Station Ornithologique Suisse, Sempach.Google Scholar
  30. Menantean, L. 1991. Zones humides du littoral de la Communauté Européenne vues de l'espace.Google Scholar
  31. Montes, C. & Bifani, P. 1989. An ecological and economic analysis of the current status of Spanish wetlands. Report to OECD, Paris.Google Scholar
  32. Nakayama, N. 1993. Monitoring Asian wetlands and lake basins using remote sensing techniques. pp. 39–42 In: Moser, M. E., Prentice, R. C. & van Vessem, J. (eds), Waterfowl and wetland conservation in the 1990s. IWRB Special Publication No. 26.Google Scholar
  33. Naranjo, L. G. 1995. An evaluation of the first inventory of South America wetlands. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  34. Novitzki, R. P. 1995. EMAP-Wetlands: a sampling design with global application. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  35. Olney, P. (ed.) 1965. Project MAR: list of European and North African wetlands of international importance. IUCN New Series, IUCN, Morges, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  36. Pakarinen, P. 1995. Classification of boreal mires in Finland and Scandinavia-a review. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  37. Pressey, R. L. & Adam, P. 1995. A review of wetland inventory and classification in Australia. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  38. Psilovikos, A. A. 1992. Prospects for wetlands and waterfowl in Greece. pp. 53–55. In: Finlayson, C. M., Hollis, G. E. & Davis, T. J. (eds), Managing Mediterranean wetlands and their birds. IWRB Special Publication No. 20. IWRB, Slimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  39. Scott, D. A. 1980. A preliminary inventory of wetlands of international importance for waterfowl in west Europe and northwest Africa. IWRB Special Publication No. 2, IWRB, Slimbridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  40. Scott, D. A. 1989a. Design of wetland data sheets for database on Ramsar sites. Photocopied report to Ramsar Bureau, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  41. Scott, D. A. 1989b. A directory of Asian wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  42. Scott, D. A. 1993. A directory of wetlands in Oceania. IWRB, Slimbridge, UK and AWB, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 444 pp.Google Scholar
  43. Scott, D. A. & Carbonell, M. 1986. A directory of Neotropical wetlands, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  44. Scott, D. A. & Jones, T. A. 1995. Classification and inventory of wetlands: a global overview. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  45. Semeniuk, C. A. & Semeniuk, V. 1995. A geomorphic approach to global wetland classification for inland wetlands. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  46. Silvius, M. J., Djuharsa, E., Taufik, A. W., Steeman, A. P. J. M. & Berczy, E. T. 1987. The Indonesian wetland inventory-a compilation of information on wetlands in Indonesia. PHPA-AWB/Interwader Indonesia & EDWIN, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  47. Simmons, R. E., Brown, C. J. & Griffin, M. (eds) 1991. The status and conservation of wetlands in Namibia. Special Edition Madoqua 17, 254 pp.Google Scholar
  48. Taylor, A. R. D., Howard, G. W. & Begg, G. W. 1995. Developing wetland inventories in southern Africa: a review. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  49. Tiner, R. W.Jr. 1974. Wetlands of the United States: current status and recent trends. US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wetlands Inventory Project, Newton Corner, Massachusetts. 59 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Usbank, S. & James, R. 1993. A directory of important wetlands in Australia. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra. 687 pp.Google Scholar
  51. Wilen, B. O. & Bates, M. K. 1995. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's national wetland inventory project. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar
  52. Zoltai, S. C. & Vitt, D. H. 1995. Canadian wetlands: environmental gradients and classification. Vegetatio 118 (this issue).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Finlayson
    • 1
  • A. G. van der Valk
    • 2
  1. 1.International Waterfowl & Wetland Research Bureau (IWRB)UK
  2. 2.Department of BotanyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

Personalised recommendations