Wetlands in the United States and the Need for their Conservation.

Essay by Demon_LordCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2003

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Wetlands can be considered the vital link between water and land. The term "wetlands" is actually a collective term for marshes, swamps, bogs, and similar areas found in generally flat vegetated areas, in depressions in the landscape, and between dry land and water along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, and coastlines. Wetlands can be found in nearly every county and climatic zone in the United States.

Because they are so varied, wetlands can be difficult to recognize. Some are wet all of the time; some may look completely dry most of the time. Our ideas of what a wetland should look like may not include all types of wetlands. Some wetlands are large and some are very small. Many have been altered by human activities such as farming, ranching, and the building of roads, dams, and towns.

Wetlands have often been regarded as wastelands-- sources of mosquitoes, flies, unpleasant odors, and disease.

People thought of wetlands as places to avoid or, better yet, eliminate. Largely because of this negative view, more than half of America's original wetlands have been destroyed-- drained and converted to farmland, filled for housing developments and industrial facilities, or used to dispose of household and industrial waste

Based on research of books written by those who have studied the problem of wetland destruction thoroughly, this report examines (a) the different types of wetlands, (b) the benefits these wetlands offer to the environment and the people around them, and (c) the problems that have arisen through the drainage or other such destruction of these wetlands.

This report covers four major topics: how the term "wetlands" is divided into several sub-classifications, how both the environment and humans alike benefit from wetlands, how America's wetlands have been systematically destroyed, and how the future of America's wetlands...