Essential for Your Own Survival: Preserving Our World’s Wetlands

Wetlands—termed “the arteries and veins of the landscape” by Wetlands International—serve as Mother Nature’s original water purifier, the planet’s greatest natural carbon repository, the native nursery of thousands of species, and a catalyst for many local economies. Yet widespread recent developments have moved wetlands to the frontline of extermination. The rate of wetland exploitation is expected to intensify as humans demand more land and water. It is essential to recognize how indispensable the wetlands are in ensuring the healthy preservation of our planet. Our participation in the growth and planting of wetland trees, whether bare-root or container-grown, is a rallying cry for this cause.

Environmentalists, biologists, and other advocates of wetlands have been pointing out the benefits for years… * Wetlands are the native habitat to a vast range of plant and animal species. More than a third of the U.S.’s endangered species consider the wetlands their home—and more than half will thrive in a wetland habitat at some point in their lifespan. According to the WWF, wetlands provide nearly two-thirds of our fish harvest. In the Louisiana coastal wetlands alone, more than 735 animal species have been recorded. * Wetlands prevent floods by trapping floodwaters. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the wetlands along the Mississippi River used to store at least 60 days of floodwater. Due to projects that have filled or drained this ecosystem, the wetlands now store merely 12 days’ worth! * Wetlands feed downstream waters, store carbon, and rejuvenate groundwater. According to Wetlands International, 90% of disasters are water-related, and the impacts of natural and man-made disasters alike are increasing due to poorly planned development and environmental devolution. Apart from maintaining healthy water cycles and flow, wetland trees can help reduce carbon emissions and delay the adverse effects of climate change.
* Wetlands remove pollution and enhance water quality. This happens because the sediments containing toxins—such as household wastes and chemical fertilizers—are trapped in wetlands; the plants and biological processes then convert these toxins into less harmful materials. * Wetlands are key drivers of multiple industries. Wetlands are, in fact, a far greater long-term investment for us when they are preserved rather than drained. Wetlands directly support fishing and commercial harvesting economies (such as shell mining), agriculture, and even recreational activities (hunting, bird watching, etc.).

The Mitt Watershed Council offers a handful of basic yet essential tips and techniques to help every landowner practice wetland conservation and protection: * Refrain from engaging in land alterations or hydrologic modifications within and beyond the actual wetland boundaries.

  • Preserve and create safe nesting areas in order to encourage and preserve the rich wildlife habitat. The removal of wetland trees, snags, and native plants severely limits nesting opportunities; this can be countered by the creation of nest boxes, cylinders, and platforms that can be appropriately situated yet which should also be periodically maintained. Growing and transplanting wetland container trees also helps.

  • Establish a greenbelt, or vegetative buffer. Protect the wetlands from human interference by planting native wetland trees, shrubs, and undergrowth—without the use of fertilizers or other chemicals. Container-grown wetland trees help retain tree density and basal properties of the environment. This will help prevent erosion, create a plant barrier (visual, physical, and audial), and attract a greater range of wildlife. (And, given adequate soil moisture, container-grown trees can be planted almost year-round, as opposed to bare-root seedlings.)

  • Carefully monitor the wetland’s adjacent habitat, especially upland. Consider how to manage storm-water runoff, pollutants, septic systems, and so forth. If livestock or human interaction is a threat, an appropriate fence can be an inexpensive and straightforward solution. Planting wetland trees can also help enforce such a barrier.

Often mistaken for marginal or unproductive ground, wetlands are globally being drained or converted into barren environments. At Native Forest Nursery, we emphasize that wetlands are among the world’s richest ecosystems, offering an enormous range of biological, ecological, economic, and social benefits that—though often overlooked or underrated—are of intrinsic value to the preservation and livelihood of our planet as we know it. We provide wetland container trees for planting, encouraging the preservation of this most precious ecosystem.