Mitsch, William J. School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Fiedler, Peggy L. Natural Reserve System, University of California, Oakland, California.
Lee, Lyndon C. L. C. Lee & Associates, Inc., Seattle, Washington.
Stewart, Scott R. L. C. Lee & Associates, Inc., Seattle, Washington.
- Global extent
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Ecosystems that form transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic components of a landscape. Typically they are shallow-water to intermittently flooded ecosystems, which results in their unique combination of hydrology, soils, and vegetation. Examples of wetlands include swamps, fresh- and salt-water marshes, bogs, fens, playas, vernal pools and ponds, floodplains, organic and mineral soil flats, and tundra. As transitional elements in the landscape, wetlands often develop at the interface between drier uplands such as forests and farmlands, and deep-water aquatic systems such as lakes, rivers, estuaries, and oceans (see illustration). Thus, wetland ecosystems are characterized by the presence of water that flows over, ponds on the surface of, or saturates the soil for at least some portion of the year.
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