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Project Watershed Central New York

Dedicated to facilitating water resource education in Central New York


In physical geography, a wetland is an environment "at the interface between truly terrestrial ecosystems...and truly aquatic systems...making them different from each yet highly dependent on both" (Mitsch & Gosselink, 1986). In essence, wetlands are ecotones. Wetlands are found under a wide range of hydrological conditions, but at least some of the time water saturates the soil. The result is a hydric soil, one characterized by an absence of free oxygen some or all of the time, and therefore called a "reducing environment." Plants (called hydrophytes or just wetland plants) specifically adapted to the reducing conditions presented by such soils can survive in wetlands, whereas species (called "upland" plants) intolerant of the absence of soil oxygen can not survive. Adaptations to low soil oxygen characterize many wetland species.

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