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Wetland Types

Wetlands are identified by many common names such as marshes, swamps, potholes, bogs, fens, pocosins, vernal pools, or playa lakes. Wetlands vary because of differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and human disturbance. As a result of this diversity, and the need to inventory wetlands and regulate their use, there are numerous definitions and classifications. Examples of different types of wetlands are shown below.

Coastal Wetlands (Tidal)

These wetlands are subject to tidal inundation and are important coastal habitats, functioning as nurseries and foraging areas for wildlife, filtering waterborne contaminants, stabilizing sediments, protecting shorelines, and reducing floods. Coastal wetlands are also imperiled habitats due to increased human development. Scientists conduct research related to sustainable management and restoration of the Nation's coastal saltwater wetlands, freshwater wetlands, and submerged aquatic ecosystems.

coastal wetland Sabine NWR coastal wetland Sabine NWR coastal wetland Sabine NWR

Inland Wetlands (Non-Tidal)

Unlike coastal wetlands, inland wetlands are not affected by tides. However, they can be either fresh water or salt water. Inland wetlands are often found on river floodplains, in depressions, along the edges of lakes and ponds, and in other low-lying areas. Wetlands provide resting, feeding, and breeding areas for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, habitat for fish and wildlife, and outdoor recreation. Wetland ecologists study ecological processes, structure and function of different types of wetlands, develop ecosystem simulation models, and investigate the restoration potential of wetlands.

inland wetland Morganza Floodway freshwater marsh plain China monsoonal wetlands Keoladeo NP India

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