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Tropical Freshwater Swamps (Mineral Soils)

  • Wim Giesen
Reference work entry

Abstract

Freshwater swamps on mineral soils are frequently or (almost) continuously inundated wetlands characterized by emergent vegetation. In the tropics, these areas usually occur in vast flat floodplains maintained by incoming floodwaters, with some fed by groundwater, and characterized by a cycle of seasonal flooding and desiccation. Data on exact areas of freshwater swamps is lacking and unreliable for many tropical countries, partly because of their vastness, seasonal variation in extent, changes in area over time, and extensive conversion and reclamation. Four main physiognomic types of freshwater swamps can be distinguished: (i) herbaceous swamps, (ii) shrub swamps, (iii) savanna/woodland wetlands, and (iv) swamp forests. Tropical freshwater swamps support a wide biological diversity and provide ecosystem services that benefit local dependent communities. Anthropogenic threats to tropical freshwater swamps are highly variable and depend very much on local circumstances and the type of wetland. Climate change is expected to impact tropical freshwater swamps via the increased incidence of drought and tropical storms and to lesser extent sea level rise.

Keywords

Tropical freshwater swamps on mineral soils Ecosystem services Biodiversity Threats and trends 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Euroconsult Mott MacDonaldArnhemThe Netherlands

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