WetlandA wetland is a place where there is usually water near or above the surface of the ground. Wetlands are found throughout the world. Many kinds of plants and animals live in them.

The main kinds of wetlands include bogs, fens, marshes, and swamps. Bogs and fens are usually found in cold places. They have large amounts of springy, spongy soil called peat <<peet>>. Bogs also have lots of acid in the soil. Many kinds of mosses grow in bogs and fens. Marshes and swamps are common in both warm and cold places. Marshes are found in the shallow waters of lakes and streams. Cattails, horsetails, and other plants grow in marshes. Swamps often develop in areas that are flooded only part of the year. Most swamps have trees and shrubs.

Wetlands are important in nature. They provide a home for many plants and animals, including alligators, beavers, birds, frogs, insects, muskrats, otters, salamanders, snakes, and turtles. Wetlands also help control flooding because they hold large amounts of water.

Many wetlands have been destroyed by people’s activities. Almost half of the wetlands in the United States have been destroyed because people did not understand their value. Some swamps and marshes have been drained for farmland. Some wetlands have been polluted by industry. Today, most governments work to save the remaining wetlands in the world.

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