Wetlands are Integral to Sustainable Cities
By Leah Feor
Have you ever wondered what role wetlands play in sustainable development?
As a form of green infrastructure, these natural plots of land offer invaluable benefits to communities. The conservation of these unique ecosystems within city limits can help save money and add value to the landscape.
As you might know or have guessed, they are plots of land saturated in water. Land submerged under water is either seasonal or year round. Wetlands are identified by plants adaptable to saturated soil conditions caused by water at or near the surface.
The soil type is referred to as hydric, caused by reduced oxygen exchange. Plants which can live and thrive in these wet conditions are called aquatic or hydrophytic.
It’s important to consider that you may look at a dry plot of land in the middle of summer; however come spring, water is present and the entire landscape changes. You’ll want to make note of these areas to ensure you tread very lightly, or not at all, as you may disturb the natural vegetation.
There are many different types of wetlands containing either fresh or saltwater. Some of the more common names you’ll hear are:
- Bogs; and
Wetlands are helpful in many ways; here are just a few of them:
- Home to many unique and endangered species creating a safe breeding ground for them;
- Wetlands replenish and clean groundwater;
- Helpful buffer against storms and protect against flooding; and
- Prevents erosion on shorelines.
That last point being particularly important, especially in areas with heavy concentration of paved surfaces. City developers want to work with existing wetlands and do their very best not to interfere with this unique ecosystem when building. Removal or draining of wetlands will result in costly consequences, especially when natural disasters occur. It is also very harmful to the biodiversity and natural habitats which exist within these areas.
Some people still believe this type of land has little value and can be developed on. Others defend the extreme importance of these very unique ecosystems.
In fact, because wetlands have so many benefits, conservation support comes from more than one interest group. Think of the last time you heard news about wetlands, there was likely a diverse crowd of stakeholders speaking up on the issue.
Sustainability is about resource management – taking present and future generations into consideration. Conservation plays a big role in this and a great preventative measure approach. Wetlands are leverage points in sustainable development and one of the Earth’s greatest natural infrastructures; let’s not let them go to waste.
“No Sustainable Development Goals unless action is taken to reduce the deficit in natural infrastructure” ~ Jane Madgwick
This blog has been modified by the author from original post on simplysustainableblog.com
About the Author – Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor, administrator, and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things.