Groundwater Dependent Wetlands

  • Ray H. Froend
  • Pierre Horwitz
  • Bea Sommer
Reference work entry


The relative importance of groundwater in the development and maintenance of hydrological and ecological character is recognized as an important feature that distinguishes so-called “groundwater-dependent” wetlands. A categorisation is presented here according to three types of groundwater dependent ecosystems (1: subterranean or cave; 2: surface expressions of groundwater discharge; and 3: ecosystems dependent on subsurface presence of groundwater). Beyond these, we recognise eight degrees of dependence based on ecology-hydrology linkages that make explicit the hydrology, biology, soil/sediment/rock relationships arranged in increasing requirement for groundwater permanence (from intermittent to seasonal to permanent, and (soil) moisture to saturation). The classification is applied to situations where groundwater wetlands have become subject to changing hydrological conditions.


Groundwater discharge Hypogean Hyporheic Stygofauna Phreatophytes Aquifer Soil moisture Groundwater abstraction Climate change 


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecosystem Management, School of ScienceEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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