- from Wetlands
The Arctic tundra is a vast, very cold expanse of mosses, lichens, and stunted trees. It stretches across the northernmost land area of the world. Meanwhile, Florida’s steamy Everglades are a tropical home to alligators, manatees, and 15-foot-high saw grass. They’re very different, but they’re both wetlands.
Those are places where the water level is at or near the land’s surface. Wetlands make up about 6 percent of the Earth’s land surface. They exist on every continent except Antarctica. Some are near the ocean, and some are far inland.
Swamps, marshes, and bogs are the most common types of wetlands, but there are others. What makes a wetland? They all have standing water, either at the surface or near the roots of plants. Wetlands also have unique soils formed by rotting plants. Naturally, the plant life of wetlands is well adapted to watery soils.
Wetlands occur where two different worlds—wet and dry—intersect. That’s why they are rich in plant and animal life. For the same reason, they also contain some deep human mysteries.