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Sample Coursework Paper on Wetland

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Sample Coursework Paper on Wetland

Wetlands are an important part of the geographical environment. They provide important benefits that may include economic, cultural or even communal. Wetlands offer primary products such as timber and fish as well as act as a support for recreational activities for tourists. They may also help in the reduction of storm impacts on land and maintain the good quality of water in the rivers, seas or oceans. Examples of wetlands include marshes, bogs, fens, mangroves, pocosin, varzea, and swamps.

             A marsh is an area on land where water has covered for a very long time. Such an area is dominated by herbaceous plants such as grasses, which may grow on an annual, biennial or perennial basis (Alcantara 11). These plants grow in the rich soil, which are deposited by the rivers. Such areas are waterlogged giving the roots of the plants a conducive environment since they bind themselves into the muddy soil hence encouraging the spread of the marsh. Marshes are in three types; inland freshwater marshes, tidal freshwater marshes, and tidal salt marshes. Marshes are important since they promote greenhouse gas sequestration (Alcantara 33).

            Marshes, especially the saltmarshes exhibit the highest rates of greenhouse gas sequestration.  Evidently, saltmarsh has the ability to bury approximately 1.5 tonnes of carbon in every hectare every year. This is an important carbon sink since it helps in limiting the effects of carbon to climate change. Current studies also suggest that coastal wetlands, especially marshes ensure an annual sequester of carbon at a rate that is twice or four times that of mature forests. They are also found to store approximately two to five times more carbon than the tropical forests. Most of the carbon finds storage in the coastal soil and not above the soil surface as it occurs in the tropical forests (Craft 83).

Marshes also have the ability to absorb toxic carbonic chemicals that find their way into the waterways from the use of pesticides in agriculture and the industrial areas. The marshy sponge created by the buildup of marshes on the river shores prevents direct runoff flows into the rivers and oceans. However, the lack of marshes leads to the creation of “dead zones” on the coasts. These “dead zones” have very little life lying below the surface of water due to the effect of the chemicals on living things. Frequent “dead zones” have been found to thrive in the Chesapeake Bay as well as the Gulf of Mexico(Craft 112). The two have formed as a result of a severe lack of marshland to get rid of such runoff as well as an increase in industrial and agricultural runoff.

            Although marshes offer a remarkable service in ensuring that waste carbon is captured, the destruction of it poses a huge risk. When such habitats are destroyed, the carbon sequestration process is lost. Additionally, there will be an increase in the level of greenhouse gases hence a threat to the climatic conditions. Destruction of coastal habitats changes them from their capacity of being net carbon sinks to carbon emitters (Craft 203). Factors that may lead to such destruction include the increase in coastal development as well as an increase in the commercial activities on the coastal regions.  Marshes form an important part of the coastal region and it is important for the human race to accept this fact and encourage conservation of the same.

Works Cited

Alcantara, Carlos. Carbon Sequestration in Tidal Salt Marshes and Mangrove Ecosystems. London: Omniscriptum Gmbh & Company Kg, 2014.

Craft, Christopher. Creating and Restoring Wetlands: From Theory to Practice. NY: Elsevier, 2015.

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