What are Wetlands

Wetlands are areas of land where there is a large percentage of water - such as a swamp. They are found all over the world from the cold tundra lands of the north and south to the hot steamy rainforests of the equator. Most contain freshwater, some are brackish and others are truly marine. Some wetlands are permanent features - e.g. the rivers of the Amazon Basin and the Caroni and Oropouche water systems in Trinidad.

Other wetlands are temporary - e.g. wetlands formed after the onset of a rainy season - as found in the interiors of Africa and Australia. Fact: It is estimated that only 3% of the Earth's surface is covered in wetland. Fact: The Amazon Basin - the greatest rainforest on Earth - is a mosaic of wetlands. Over two-thirds of the world's freshwater is to be found in the 1100 tributaries which feed the Amazon River itself. Fact: The great tundra peatlands of Eurasia and North America, after the spring thaw, could be regarded as an enormous peaty wetland system, crowning the globe.