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The Importance of Wetlands 

Marsh WetlandWetlands are among the most fertile and productive ecosystems on earth. In the grand scheme of things, it was the swampy wetland environment of many millions of years ago that was home to the earth's earliest life forms. These acted as catchment areas that preserved and produced many of the fossil fuels on which we now depend.

In more recent times, we have begun to value wetlands for the immediate functions and values they provide. The functions depend on the location of the wetland, its surrounding landscape, sub-surface geology, hydrology, and the types of living organisms present. 

While each wetland may not perform all functions, the combined value of all the wetlands in a watershed makes each wetland important. 

Reprinted from Focus On Wetlands  (1994) with permission of Alberta Environment.

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