What's a Wetland?

September 17, 2019 9:43 AM

In keeping with a theme from my last blog titled “What the heck is habitat”, this month I explore another critical question within the language of conservation. What’s a wetland?

Wildlife biologists like me adopt a broad definition of a wetland because so too do the wetland-dependent wildlife we study. We find often that a migrating flock of Greater Yellowlegs in August are apathetic whether a wet spot in a crop field has drainage infrastructure underneath it. And that a nesting pair of Soras care little about the motivation or permits behind the construction of a water-treatment wetland in town. To wildlife, and thus to a wildlife biologist like me, what makes a wetland is how it functions. And to describe that critical wetland function we need to consider two factors: water and plants....

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Author(s): 

Adam Janke Assistant Professor

Adam Janke is the statewide Wildlife Extension Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Adam is a trained wildlife biologist, having received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in wildlife conservation and ecology from three land-grant schools in the Midwest.  He is also certified ...