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Marshlands in the Western Cape, South Africa Wetlands are formed at the edges of lakes, where rivers meet the sea, or where rainwater or rivers flood the land. They are areas saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, where plant life has adapted to flooding. Potentially highly fertile, wetlands are one of the most threatened habitats, as they are often reclaimed for farming or for building land, especially in Southeast Asia. Wetlands are considered to be separate from freshwater ecosystems, since they tend to have higher salt concentrations.


The Everglades, Florida
Everglades wildlifeThe Everglades of Florida, USA, is an area of marshes, swampland and slow-moving water. Much of the Everglades is covered by sawgrass marsh or prairies. There are also cypress swamps and mangrove forests of the river estuaries. Water channels, called sloughs, flow between the sawgrass prairies. The waters rise and fall according to the seasons. Wading birds, such as flamingos and spoonbills, feed in the shallows, while alligators roam in the deeper water.

What is the difference between a marsh and a swamp? Marshes are wetlands without trees. Swamps are wetlands where trees grow, and which have seasonal flooding.

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