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Wetlands in Puerto Rico and their importance
The wetlands are land where at water table (groundwater level) is high, so they are areas of transition between terrestrial and aquatic systems, which refers that these are flooded or saturated, either superficially or underground or underground. When the soil is regularly covered with water, it is devoid of oxygen and this results in a hybrid ecosystem between the purely aquatic and the terrestrial. Marism extensions, swamps, peat bogs or water covered surfaces are considered of natural or artificial, permanent or artificial, stagnant or currents, sweet or salty. This includes marine water extensions whose low tide does not exceed six meters. Wetland water can vary depends on geographical location, from fresh water to hypersaline water.
Wetlands have three main features;Presence of saturated soils or a sheet of water on the ground during some portion of the year, the unique conditions of the soil, different from those of the soil in high and adjacent lands and finally the presence of unique vegetation and organisms adapted to moisture conditions. So the vegetation that is born in this area adapts to living in these conditions since these waters are shallow. The estuaries, grasslands of herbs, mangroves, high forests and coral reefs are part of the wetlands. Wetlands have important roles in our nature, since they are high productivity ecosystems because they cow. These function as a habitat for migratory or endangered species.
They are also essential for aquifer recharge, since accumulated water descends to the underground layers. It is worth mentioning that wetlands help the decrease in floods and soil erosions. They also decrease the possibility of flooding in various areas. It gives humanity, from freshwater supplies, food, construction and mitigation materials of climate change. This is why we must protect and conserve wetlands since they are extremely necessary.
At present in Puerto Rico there are different types of wetlands. The wetlands that are located in Puerto Rico are Palustrino, Lacustrino, Riberino, Estuarino and Marino. Palustrino are fresh water wetlands that are located in coastal plains and abounds woody plants. Lacustrine are fresh water wetlands, these can be located in rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs. These tend to flood permanently and the vegetation that are found are temporary development and submersible plants. The riberines are freshwater wetlands that are subjected to tidal flow inside the channels, they are located in channels. The vegetation that is present in the riberine is similar to that of Lacustrinos.
The estuaries are salt water wetlands that are located in coastal areas near mangroves. The water from the estuaries mostly comes when the tide rises permanently flooding the area. Estuaries are considered one of the most productive areas since there is a lot of vegetation, fish and birds. The sailors are from salt water and are located in seabed. In the sailors the vegetation that dominates are marine and macroalga herbs.
Wetlands have many functions in the environment. The wetlands function as Everanspirators supplying moisture to the atmosphere, when doing this works as a source of cooling to the nearby communities. They are considered to be large oxygen producers, this being the most important function. Help protect endangered species by providing habitat to these species. They are also classified as an attraction of Puerto Rico for scientists who come to investigate and for tourists.
We humans since the beginning of civilization have been in contact with wetlands. We have used its natural resources and waters in different ways. Currently, wetlands are subject to strong demands for the use of their resources, causing these ecosystems to deteriorate. In Puerto Rico, wetlands are directly affected by dragados, stuffed for roads, development of shops and marine residences and constructions. In addition, we affect them with rainwater that contains pollutants that come from agriculture, residences and shops.
There are laws that protect wetlands since these ecosystems and species that inhabit them are put at risk. In Puerto Rico, wetlands are protected by state and federal laws. One of these laws is Law 314 created on December 24, 1998, which is established as a public policy at the state level the protection and conservation of wetlands. The implementation of these laws is of the utmost importance since one as Puerto Rican and human being wants to protect these areas since they provide us with many essential things. It can be said that because they are being built a lot, in addition to the fact that they are often in areas that are not suitable for construction near the wetlands are being contaminated. When they contaminate these areas, they produce great damage to our ecosystems and to us since the wetlands are one of the oxygen sources that we humans supplement ourselves.