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Terms & Synonyms


Official WHO Definition

Water bodies that are generally shallow and may not have permanent water. Artificial wetlands (constructed wetlands) are wetlands that have been created to receive stormwater, or treat wastewater (UNEP 2000).

Other Definitions

“Wetlands are areas on which water covers the soil or if water is present either at or near the surface of that soil. Water can also be present within the root zone, all year or just during various periods of time of the year.”

There are several ways in which to categorise wetlands. A wetland may be found in: Coasts: areas between land and open sea that are not influenced by rivers (e.g. shorelines, beaches, mangroves and coral reefs) Estuaries: where rivers meet the sea and water changes from fresh to salt as it meets the sea (e.g. deltas, mudflats and salt marches) Floodplains: areas next to the permanent course of a river that extends to the edge of the valley (e.g. ox-bow lakes and river-islands) Marshes/swamps: areas where water is more or less permanently at the surface and/or causing saturation of the soil (e.g. papyrus swamp, fen, peatlands) Shallow lakes: areas of permanent or semi-permanent water with little flow (e.g. ponds, salt lakes, volcanic crater lakes).

All wetlands have two characteristics in common: Water or ice and earth.


Interpretations and Explanations


UNEP (2000) International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies for Wastewater and Stormwater Management

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

Wetlands International

External Resources



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