Wetlands encompass a diversity of habitats that rely on the presence of water to survive. Over the last two centuries, these hard-to-reach areas have been viewed with disdain or eliminated by a public that saw them only as dangerous and worthless lowlands. This book tracks changing perceptions of one of the world’s richest and biologically productive biomes and efforts that have been undertaken to protect many areas. With land development resulting in the loss of more than half of the world’s wetlands, significant efforts are now under way to protect the remaining 5 million square miles.
The author describes three noteworthy examples which demonstrate the resilience of wetland plants and animals and their ability to rebound from human-induced pressures. In Central Asia, the Aral Sea and its adjacent wetlands show promising regrowth, in part because of massive hydrology projects being implemented to undo years of damage to the area. The Everglades wetlands complex, spanning the lower one-third of Florida, is slowly reviving as conservation measures are implemented. Finally it is shown how Lake Poyang in southeastern China has experienced increased ecological health as a result of better resource management and community education programs focused on the vital role that wetlands play in a healthy environment.
About the Author
James Balliett graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, studying environmental issues and writing. His senior thesis was about a winter he spent on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Two years later, he was awarded his masters of science degree in environmental studies from Antioch New England Graduate School.
His experiences include a project for the US Forest Service in southeast Alaska, work for the harbormaster in Chatham, Massachusetts, and as a natural resource officer in Barnstable, Massachusetts where he helped manage a piping plover colony. While living in Burlington, Vermont, Balliett was a reporter for the Burlington Free Press and worked at the Chamber of Commerce where he directed their government affairs office. While living in Colorado's front range, he served as an advocacy manager for Housing Colorado. He currently resides on Cape Cod and writes for the Cape Codder Newspaper, covering a range of community, environmental, and business news. His five environmental science books (mountains, forests, wetlands, freshwater, and oceans) make up a set on Environmental Issues, Global Perspectives.
Table of Contents
Part I Introduction To Wetlands
1 Understanding Wetlands 3
2 Hydrology of Wetlands 15
3 Humans and Wetlands 25
Part II Wetlands of The World: Case Studies Map of Case Studies 42
4 Danube River Delta, Romania and Ukraine 45
5 The Everglades, Florida 53
6 The Pantanal, Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay 61
7 Lake Poyang, China 69
8 Aral Sea, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan 77
9 Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska 85
10 Kopuatai Peat Dome, New Zealand 93
Part III Wetlands Conclusion
11 Wetland Challenges and Solutions 103
12 A Wetland's Value 115
Selected Web Sites 131
Further Reading 133