Wetlands - Link in the Water Cycle
Wetlands play a vital role in the cycling of water on the planet. Water evaporated from the seas or transpired from plants returns as rainfall filling both upland and lowland wetlands. Wetland systems, and their forested counterparts, slowly release their waters either to the atmosphere or to the sea, playing a major role in governing world climate. With the flow of water arrives a steady input of nutrients from the surrounding land - the organic silts and sediments settle and, warmed by the sun, provide ideal conditions for the growth of microscopic plants and animals - the base of aquatic food chains. Fact: A well established marsh is estimated to be up to 50 times more productive than grassland and about 8 times as productive as cultivated land.
The Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia speciosa) - Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust:This important plant is used as a food source at the Trust. Leaves, insects and crustaceans in the roots are eaten by waterfowl. A water purifer, this plant also absorbs large amounts of dangerous pollutants (including mercury and lead) from the water and helps keep any water area clean. Prolific, 10 plants can reproduce to cover an acre of water in 8 months.