Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by john. john Wonders, “whats a swamp?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, john!
Does the word “swamp” sound ominous? To many people, it does. That’s because of some of the creatures that live there. However, swamps are really just forested wetlands. That means they’re like lakes only much shallower. The water in swamps is usually shallow enough to allow plants and trees to flourish.
Swamps can often be found along rivers or the shores of large lakes. In fact, some of the world’s largest swamps can be found along the world’s largest rivers. That includes the Amazon, the Mississippi, and the Congo.
Swamps can contain fresh water, seawater, or a mixture of both. Some swamps are permanent, while others come and go with fluctuations in the local water level. Whatever type of water is present, it usually moves very slowly. This is due to the presence of large amounts of plants and trees.
Wetlands are very valuable because of the many types of plants and animals they support. However, many swamps have been drained to make farmland. Others were drained to reduce diseases caused by swamp insects, such as mosquitoes. Still more swamps were drained to allow logging of the trees in the area.
Drainage ditches, canals, and levees have been built to drain the water from these swamps. This process resulted in the loss of habitat for many plants and animals. In some areas of the world, drainage has been so widespread that 50-90% of wetlands have vanished.
Today, many groups are trying to restore wetlands. Scientists now understand how valuable swamps can be. They help with flood control and water purification in addition to being a habitat for plants and animals. Some swamps can be restored by simply plugging drainage ditches or removing levees. The solutions for others are more complex.
Have you ever heard of the Everglades? How about Atchafalaya Swamp? These are some of the most well-known swamps in the United States. Both are home to a variety of plants and animals and are at risk of destruction unless people take steps to protect them.
Today, many people understand the value of swamps. Still, these areas of land still tend to have lower property values than other types of land. Many people who live near swamps, though, do make use of them. They fish and hunt the animals that call the swamp home.
How would you like to visit a swamp? Would you enjoy exploring such a diverse habitat? Or would you be a bit squeamish? Either way, remember the importance of swamps! They’re helpful to everyone, including the animals that live there.
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