Coastal wetlands play a pivotal role in the Great Lakes ecosystem. As buffer zones between the land and open waters of the Great Lakes, they perform a variety of essential functions providing both direct and indirect anthropogenic benefits. Geology, morphology and climate are the dominant variables that influence Laurentian Great Lakes wetland development. However, anthropogenic factors are the major contributors to alteration of natural wetland processes. This paper provides an overview of natural and anthropogenic factors important in Great Lakes coastal wetland development and provides statistical information describing the Great Lakes Basin. A brief description of wetlands classification and research issues is also presented.
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Factors affecting the evolution of coastal wetlands of the Laurential Great Lakes: an overview