World Wetlands Day!
Did you know? Today is World Wetlands Day!
Wetlands cover 5-8% of the earth’s land surface. They are found on every continent (except Antarctica) and exist in every climate. Most wetlands are found in boreal and tropical regions, where a surplus in precipitation often creates the necessary conditions for wetland formation.
There are different types of Wetlands, the most common being:
- Swamps — wetlands dominated by trees like red maples.
- Marshes — wetlands dominated by herbaceous plants like cattails.
- Bogs — peat dominated wetlands fed primarily by precipitation and home to plants like blueberry bushes.
- Fens — peat dominated wetlands fed primarily by ground water.
Wetlands are crucial habitats for thousands of species, supporting everything from bacteria and fungi to plants, birds, fish, and more! Many of the animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo are from wetlands, including most of our waterfowl.
Some Wetland Animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo:
- Green-winged teal
- Hooded merganser
- Eastern massasauga rattlesnake
- Spotted turtles
- Roseate spoonbills
Globally, we have lost ~50% of the world's original wetlands, and existing wetlands continue to shrink each year. North America alone is home to 30% of the wetlands in the world — and also home to some of the most rapidly shrinking wetlands. The main drivers of wetlands loss are agriculture, peat harvest in bogs and fens, and consumptive uses of water. Coastal land loss from rising ocean levels further exacerbates wetlands degradation. In the past century alone, the state of Louisiana, whose iconic wetlands are known throughout the nation as ‘the Bayou,” has lost almost 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands to the Gulf of Mexico.
To learn more about wetlands habitat loss, and how you can help, visit: What You Can Do To Protect Coastal Wetlands