Why Are Wetlands Important?


Quick Answer

Wetlands are important because they prevent flooding by slowing down rainwater runoff. They play a part in providing food for fish in the rivers. They are also a breeding ground for many animals.

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Full Answer

Wetlands play a role in the replenishing and the recharging of groundwater, and by doing this they regulate the quality and quantity of groundwater. Groundwater is a vital source of water for drinking and farming. Almost 80 percent of the groundwater in the world is used for irrigating farms.

Another importance of wetlands is that they cycle nutrients. Wetland vegetation takes up and stores nutrients found in the water and surrounding soil. It retains these nutrients until it either dies or is harvested by animals. Its productiveness is associated with the type of wetland, climate and nutrient availability. This is why grasses of fertile floodplains tend to produce high yields of plants, such as papyrus, reed and bulrush.

Wetlands have the ability to remove toxic substances from water, hence purifying the water. They are also a source of ecological products that can be harvested for personal and commercial use. The most important of these is fish. Fish is a source of food for over a significant portion of hte human population; furthermore, the fish industry provides a relatively high percentage of income and employment to habitants in developing countries.

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