Let’s Know Something about Wetlands

  There is no definite definition of wetlands so far. According to the common sense, a piece of wetland is a place where there is water and muds. A character of Taiwanese origin pornounced “lung” can cleverly describe “wetland.” The form of this character is “water” on the top and “earth” on the bottom, meaning a piece of wetland has water above earth and earth below water, which can fully express the conception of a piece of wetland. From this we can give a simple definition of “wetland”: an amount of earth with a lot of water or an area of water with a lot of sand can be called “wetland.” A piece of wetland is not always dry, not totally wet, either. Nevertheless, all wetlands have water in or/ and on them to some degree, giving aquatic plants a resource to grow. Judging our surroundings by this definition, we might locate a piece of wetland nearby. Maybe it is a pond, an irrigation ditch, or a riverbank, offering a place for animals and plants to live and breed.

■ Important Eco-systems on the Earth

Wetlands are the most productive eco-systems on the earth. In addition to abundant water for creatures to grow, which is the most important factor, wetlands have advantages such as rich nutrients from the upstreams, enough sunlight, and the pushing force from waves and tides, which makes the wetlands’ total production range from 2,5 to 4 times larger than that of fertile farmlands.

■Functions of Wetlands

■Types of Wetlands

According to the above definition, we find that there are various kinds of wetlands: saltwater wetlands, freshwater wetlands, high altitude wetlands, and low altitude wetlands. We can roughly classify them into the following types:


■Note: In 1975, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorized wetlands into 22 types.

■Sad Melodies of Wetlands

For a long period of time, the value of wetlands have been neglected. Called “wastelands,” wetlands are thought to be full of filth, breeding all kinds of gnats. As a result, they often serve as sand pumping and filling spots and construction sites and place to dump garbage. With a long history of pollution, excessive exploitation of aquatic resources, carelessly turning wetlands into lands for construction and roads, Taiwan’s wetlands have gradually disappeared, which makes the great Nature to fight back, causing serious loss on lives and properties. For the past few years, experts, scholars, and environmental groups energetically speak out, advocating the importance of wetlands. Their endeavors finally caught the government's attention, forcing the units concerned to plan several reserved areas. Hopefully, with a growing knowledge on wetlands, from now on people won’t do anything to destroy wetlands, giving the following generations a better future.

■An Introduction to Wetlands in Kaohsiung

Besides Niaosong Wetland Park, we still have another 21 wetlands with various sizes in Kaohsiung. According to the wetland classification, we have the following types:

The above types are the team’s classification. Connect to the following website to get more detailed information about wetlands: http://pwbgis.kcg.gov.tw/wetland/

Source of Information: Adapted from A Photographic Guide of Niaosong Wetland Park and the website of Wetland Corridors, Kaohsiung City Government.

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