Types of Wetlands
There are many different types of wetland systems throughout the world, there is also a great deal of terminology associated these systems. The following will detail the scientific terminology as well as more common wetland descriptions.
Scientists recognize five major wetland systems:
Marine & Estuarine
Marine and estuarine habitats include coastal wetlands, such as tidal marshes and mangrove swamps. They are typically, but not always, influenced by saltwater which creates a brachish environment.
The next three categories represent freshwater systems, which account
for ninety percent of the nation's wetlands
Lacustrine wetlands are lake and pond environments.
Riverine wetlands are found along rivers and streams. They can include areas such as floodplains and oxbow lakes.
The word palustrine means marshy; wetland areas within this category include marshes, swamps, and bogs - terms commonly used to designate distinct wetland types. We shall use these terms since they are familiar to most people.
However, it should be noted that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
developed a more precise hierarchical system, by means of which each wetland can be mapped
or described with reference to its general structure or vegetation, flooding pattern,
water chemistry, and soils.
A peat accumulating wetland that has no significant water inflow or outflow and supports acidophillic mosses like sphagnum. Called a Mire in Europe.
Lowlands along streams and rivers, usually an alluvial floodplains that is sometimes flooded. These areas are usually forested.
Similar to a bog, these are peat accumulating wetland areas that receive some drainage from surrounding mineral soils and usually support marshlike vegetation.
A frequently or continually flooded wetland with emergent green leafy vegetation adapted to saturated soil conditions.
Large areas of peatlands and bogs most often found in Canada and Alaska.
A generic term of any wetland that accumulates partially decomposed plant matter. Also called Moors in Europe.
Term used in the southwest US for marshlike ponds similar to potholes.
Shallow, marshlike pond, particularly as found in the Dakotas and central Canadian provinces.
A swamp or shallow lake system in the northern and midwestern US. A slowly flowing shallow swamp or marsh in the southwest US.
Wetland dominated by trees and /or shrubs.
Shallow, occasionally flooded wet meadow that is dry for most of the summer and fall.
Grassland with waterlogged soil near the surface but without standing water for most of the year.
Similar to a marsh but with water levels between a marsh and a wet meadow.