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Conservation: The World's Largest Wetlands

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The following list of the world’s largest wetlands is borrowed from my book, co-edited with Lauchlan Fraser, The World’s Largest Wetlands: Ecology and Conservation (2005, Cambridge University Press). During the past century, humans have destroyed approximately 50% of the world’s wetlands. As wetlands shrink in area, their important functions decline too— there is reduced carbon storage, lower biological diversity, lower fish production, less available water during drought, higher flood levels in spring, and higher risk of water pollution. Previously, these globally significant wetlands had not been highlighted, described, ranked or compared, and the research that had been done was sometimes fragmentary or published in obscure journals. Through the contributions of an international team of scholars, the book presents details on the status, ecological dynamics, functions, and conservation needs of the world’s largest wetlands.


Rank
Continent
Wetland
Description
Area (km2)
1
Eurasia
West Siberian Lowland
Bogs, mires, fens
2,745,000
2
South America
Amazon River Basin
Floodplain forest and savanna, marshes, mangal
1,738,000
3
North America
Hudson Bay Lowland
Bogs, fens, swamps, marshes
374,000
4
Africa
Congo River Basin
Swamps, riverine forest, wet prairie
189 000
5
North America
Mackenzie River Basin
Bogs, fens, swamps, marshes
166,000
6
South Amerca
Pantanal
Savannas, grasslands, riverine forest
138,000
7
North America
Mississippi River Basin
Bottomland hardwood forest, swamps, marshes
108,000
8
Africa
Lake Chad Basin
Grass and shrub savanna, marshes
106, 000
9
Africa
River Nile Basin
Swamps, marshes
92,000
10
North America
Prairie potholes
Marshes, meadows
63,000
11
South America
Magellanic moorland
Bogs
44,000

 


World's Largest Wetlands

Wetland Ecology

Shorelines

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Louisiana Conservation Map

Readings on Louisiana

Ottawa Valley

Ontario coastal plain flora

Purple Loosestrife

Web Resources

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