Encyclopedia of Lakes and Reservoirs

2012 Edition
| Editors: Lars Bengtsson, Reginald W. Herschy, Rhodes W. Fairbridge


  • Reginald W. Herschy
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4410-6_218


Wetlands cover a large part of the Earth perhaps of the order of 6% or 1.8 million km2 and may be termed habitats between dry land and deep water including marshes, swamps, peatland, bogs, rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes. Estuaries, coastal waters, salt marshes, mangroves, and coral reefs may also be classified as wetlands. It is estimated that some 75% of the world’s population live in former wetlands and surrounding areas. Wetlands are always in a state of change as lakes and ponds dry up or fill with plants or as salt marshes or mangrove swamps gradually extend out to sea.

Wetlands of international importance now include nearly 2,000 sites (known as Ramsar Sites – the Convention on Wetlands). The nation with the most sites is the UK with 168, but the nation with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Canada with over 130,000 km2. The world’s largest wetland is the Pantanal which straddles Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay in South America with Kakadu National Park in...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hydrology ConsultantReadingUK