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The wetland continuum: a conceptual framework for interpreting biological studies

Wetlands

By:
, , , , , , , and

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Abstract

We describe a conceptual model, the wetland continuum, which allows wetland managers, scientists, and ecologists to consider simultaneously the influence of climate and hydrologic setting on wetland biological communities. Although multidimensional, the wetland continuum is most easily represented as a two-dimensional gradient, with ground water and atmospheric water constituting the horizontal and vertical axis, respectively. By locating the position of a wetland on both axes of the continuum, the potential biological expression of the wetland can be predicted at any point in time. The model provides a framework useful in the organization and interpretation of biological data from wetlands by incorporating the dynamic changes these systems undergo as a result of normal climatic variation rather than placing them into static categories common to many wetland classification systems. While we developed this model from the literature available for depressional wetlands in the prairie pothole region of North America, we believe the concept has application to wetlands in many other geographic locations.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The wetland continuum: a conceptual framework for interpreting biological studies
Series title:
Wetlands
Volume
24
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description:
p. 448-458
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Wetlands
First page:
448
Last page:
458
Number of Pages:
11