Wetlands – what are they and why are they so important?

Wetlands is an area of land where the water naturally sits above the soil; or is present at ground level throughout the year – or at certain seasonable times.

Wetlands are an essential, natural tool when it comes to water quality. Often called the earth’s kidneys, wetlands help to cleanse the soil around them, filtering out the nasties and helping to create better water and land quality in a simplistic form – just like kidneys extract the nasties out of the blood of a body, and send it back through the system much cleaner.

Providing a great home for natural habitats, wetlands provide a great space for trees, native plants, wildlife and more. Wetlands also offer an idyllic space for birdlife. Throughout the country, there are a number of suggested plants that are best for constructed wetlands – check out our Wetlands Plant Guide to find out more.

By any other name…

Wetlands can be known by many other (often unflattering!) names, including swamps, bogs, mangroves, and floodplains. Peatlands are also wetlands in predominantly peat areas. While some look lush, green and bushy, other wetlands can be full of heavy mosses and swampy areas. But the beauty is in the eye of the beholder!


Online wetland handbook

Te Reo o Te Repo – the Voice of the Wetland is an online wetland handbook created collaboratively between the Waikato Raupatu River Trust and Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, and funded mainly by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Wetland Restoration Programme - you can find it here: https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/te-reo-o-te-repo/

Related Projects

Constructed Wetlands

A workshop held to demonstrate to landowners and support agencies the process of constructing a wetland.

Managing Wetlands as Farm Assets

Working with farmers to provide advice and share knowledge about the range of benefits wetlands offer the farming system and wider community.

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