Wetlands are areas of land covered in either fresh or salt water, including areas such as marshes, ponds, lakes, and even low-lying areas that flood frequently.
Wetlands are considered one of the most productive habitats on earth, meaning that they produce lots of plants and animals!
All habitats provide ‘ecosystem services’, which is a natural process that benefits humans.
Wetlands provide us with filtered water, protection from storms, control floods, and are also a fun place to play… and they do all of this for free!
Wetlands are also very important to Australia’s Traditional Owners. Some groups used to use the trunks of Eucalyptus trees found around wetlands to make shields and bowls… If you look very carefully at trees found in this habitat you might see scars in the tree! Even though Australian Aboriginal People use the resources of wetlands and other habitats, they do this at a rate which allows the environment to replenish rather than taking away from it.
Wetlands are also important to the culture. Check out this Dreamtime story about Tiddalik the frog based in lakes and rivers of wetlands…
SPOTLIGHT: CURLEW SANDPIPER
Seabirds migrate to Queensland’s wetlands every year along routes called ‘flyways’.
There are 8 of these ‘paths’ connecting wetlands all across the world so birds can rest and feed along their journey.
More than 40,000 shorebirds migrate to Moreton Bay via flyways every year!
One species of migrating bird is the Curlew Sandpiper. These are different to the curlews that we see in our suburbs… They are small birds that migrate between Australia and Siberia.
Each distance is 13,000 one-way… Over their lifetime, each curlew will fly the distance between the earth and the moon! That’s a long way for such a small bird!