Wetland

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A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Such areas may also be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water.[2] Wetlands include swamps, marshes, and bogs, among others. The water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater, or brackish. The world's largest wetland is the Pantanal which straddles Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay in South America.

Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. Plant life found in wetlands includes mangrove, water lilies, cattails, sedges, tamarack, black spruce, cypress, gum, and many others. Animal life includes many different amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, and mammals.[3]

In many locations, such as the United Kingdom, Iraq, South Africa and the United States, wetlands are the subject of conservation efforts and Biodiversity Action Plans.

Wetlands also serve as natural wastewater purification systems—e.g., in Calcutta, India[4] and Arcata, California.[5]

The study of wetlands has recently been termed paludology in some publications.[6]

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