Photographs from wetlands landscapes, one of Earth’s most fragile and important ecosystems.
Wetlands, or swamps, exist when water saturates and covers the soil all or some of the time. They are an incredibly important ecosystem, providing key functions to both nature and humanity. They provide water purification, are a high-functioning carbon sink, and are a nursery for young animals. Wetlands are the rarest and most biodiverse ecosystem on Earth. But they are also very imperiled. The main threat is humans. We often attempt to drain them, to increase the land’s value – you can’t really develop on a swamp. They are also very sensitive to natural changes, such changes in sea level, weather patterns, and river routes. In fact, the Florida Everglades has only existed as an ecosystem for a very short time, geologically speaking. Just a few thousand years ago, with humans already inhabiting the region, it was savannah grassland, not wetlands!