The Wetland Book pp 1779-1786 | Cite as

Ecological Monitoring of Wetlands

  • Tom Dahl
Reference work entry


Wetland resource planning, management, modeling, and policy formulation rely on scientifically sound information regarding the extent, type, and condition of wetlands on the landscape. This requires characterization of wetland resources as well as developing an understanding of how these systems respond to environmental change. Wetland monitoring is defined as the systemic observation and recording of current and changing conditions and provides these information needs. The choice of techniques is dependent on the programmatic objectives as well as the physical landscape and geographic extent of the monitoring effort. Mapping, inventories, surveys, and statistical sampling are all methods of data collection that serve as a basis for monitoring. Short-term monitoring is useful for project-level planning and compliance, mitigation, or remediation and for assessing the immediate impacts of specific events such as hazardous spills and other risk assessment studies. Longer-term monitoring is needed to assess ecosystems or landscape-level changes in hydrology, habitat fragmentation, climate change, responses of vegetation to stressors, species utilization of wetlands, and other ecological trends resulting from cumulative impacts. Monitoring for change in wetland extent provides crucial information for the development of national policy and legislation, governance of financial and technical assistance, tax reform, wetlands management strategies, research, and strategic planning efforts involving wetlands. Combination with monitoring of wetland condition (vegetation, soils, hydrology, water quality, or algae) has allowed the development of comprehensive wetland monitoring programs.


Wetland monitoring Wetland assessment Spatial assessment Wetland indicators 


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wetlands Status and TrendsU.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceSt. PetersburgUSA

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