wetlands of the world

A wetland is land that is covered with water for part of the year. Do all wetlands look the same? No! Each is different.


Bogs contain a type of soil called peat. Peat is made up of material from dead plants such as mosses. Bogs have spongy, mossy floors. They have fewer nutrients than marshes or swamps. As a result, large plants don’t grow in bogs.

Some animals have adapted to live in bogs. Salamanders, dragonflies, snakes, and some plants that eat insects live in bogs.

Bogs are found in cool, northern climates. They receive most of their water from rain and snow.

As a wetland, bogs filter and clean the water. They also trap carbon in their peaty soil. Bogs are a good place for special kinds of plants and animals to live.

sphagnum moss


County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK


Mangrove wetlands are found along warm ocean coasts where saltwater and freshwater meet. Mangroves contain brackish water. This means the water is a mix of freshwater and saltwater.

They are filled with mangrove trees that can live in saltwater. The trees have a tangle of roots that are above the ground. They are strong and can cope with ocean waves.

Mangroves are important places for birds to build nests. Young fish are safe in the tangle of tree roots.

As a wetland, mangroves protect the land from storms. The mangrove trees move carbon from the air into the soil where it is stored.

mangrove roots

scarlet ibis

Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic


Swamps contain many large trees and other woody plants. The wet ground creates a thick soil for plants that grow well in water.

Animals that like wet conditions, such as alligators and frogs, live in swamps. Areas around tree roots provide a safe place for nesting birds and protect fish, reptiles, and amphibians.

Some swamps contain freshwater. They are usually found inland. Saltwater swamps are found near coasts. Swamps receive water from rivers, streams, springs and ocean tides.

As a wetland, swamps can protect the surrounding land from floods. They also remove harmful nutrients from the water.

tupelo tree


Florida Everglades, USA


Marshes do not have many large trees. Grasses, reeds, and small bushes grow in marshes.

In Botswana, lions, jackals, and bat-eared foxes live on the edges of marshes. These African marshes are home to many birds such as Abdim’s storks, kori bustards, and large secretary birds.

Some marshes are formed by ocean tides along coasts. Rivers often form marshes in low-lying areas or near lakes that flood during the wet season.

As a wetland, marshes are like a container. They can hold large amounts of water. When there is a lot of rain marshes can hold floodwater and protect the surrounding land.


African fish eagle

Botswana, Africa