"Not All Wetlands Are Created Equal"

Artificially created wetlands may not really compensate well enough for the loss of natural wetlands they replace.


"To many, it’s a familiar scenario: a strip mall suddenly pops up in what was once a desolate quagmire or boggy boondock.

But people are coming to realize that these seemingly wasted plots where land meets water provide a valuable ecological service. In addition to nurturing biodiversity, wetlands purify water, produce fish, store carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to global warming, and protect shorelines from floods, storm surges and erosion.

Since the early 20th century, development has claimed over half the wetlands in North America, Europe, Australia and China. To repair the damage from those construction binges and regain the benefits of wetlands, restoration has become a booming business.

Yet new research calls into question whether manmade versions can ever compensate for wetlands buried beneath parking lots and subdivisions. In an article published on Tuesday in PLoS Biology, scientists write that restoration efforts often fall short of returning wetlands to their former biological complexity and functioning. "

Rachel Nuwer reports for the New York Times' Green blog January 24, 2012.


"Study: Restored Wetlands Don't Measure Up" (Mother Jones)

Source: Green (NYT), 01/26/2012