Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MU Researchers Argue For Better Management Of Small Wetlands

Date:
October 9, 1998
Source:
University Of Missouri, Columbia
Summary:
Ducks, geese and bald eagles soaring over areas the size of small towns are envisioned when talking about federally protected wetlands, not areas that are maybe as big as a small swimming pool and apparently void of life. University of Missouri-Columbia Professor Ray Semlitsch is trying to change that view and explain the importance of smaller wetlands before they are managed out of existence.

COLUMBIA, Mo.--Ducks, geese and bald eagles soaring over areas the size of small towns are envisioned when talking about federally protected wetlands, not areas that are maybe as big as a small swimming pool and apparently void of life. University of Missouri-Columbia Professor Ray Semlitsch is trying to change that view and explain the importance of smaller wetlands before they are managed out of existence.

"Large wetlands are beautiful and need to be protected, but for some animal species such as frogs, toads and salamanders, it is small wetlands that support greater species diversity," said Semlitsch, who along with his graduate research assistant, Russ Bodie, recently published their research in Conservation Biology. "These smaller, temporary wetlands--because they are dry at certain times during the year--are much harder to appreciate than vast marsh areas. But without these smaller wetlands, it is very possible that much of the animal and plant life that make wetlands rich, productive habitats would not survive. We need to worry about the conservation of smaller wetlands as well as the larger ones."

Small wetlands currently are defined as being less than 4 hectares, or about 8 to 9 acres. The majority of the nation's wetlands are much smaller than might be imagined, closer to 1 to 2 acres and sometimes as small as several square yards. These small wetlands may comprise the majority of wetlands in the United States and help support a vast diversity of wetland species. However, unlike the large wetlands, these smaller areas are not protected to the same extent.

Recently, the Army Corp of Engineers, which manages wetlands of all sizes throughout the United States, drafted regulations that will change the way wetlands are managed in the future. They have put off any change in management regulations until April, but the MU researchers argue that the changes in the regulations could manage these smaller wetlands out of existence.

"Right now we can't detect losses of small wetlands by satellite imagery, a technique used to assess environmental change," Bodie said. "We lose thousands of acres each year in wetlands and these smaller ones are not even taken into account. Yet, they play a vital role in the ecosystem and support a great variety of organisms."

Research done by Semlitsch and Bodie has indicated that when some individuals of a species move between wetlands, this increases their chances of survival. By populating many different wetlands, various species thrive, even during drought years when some wetlands are dry. When smaller wetlands are destroyed, the chances of survival for many species' populations may decrease dramatically because distances between individual wetlands become longer, making movement between wetlands more difficult. These small wetland breeding sites for amphibians are especially critical in light of purported world-wide declines, Semlitsch said.

Wetlands in general also have direct benefits to humans as they filter out chemicals and silt, buffer lands from flooding, and are a favorite of hunters and fishers. They also are very costly and difficult to develop for construction or other purposes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Missouri, Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Missouri, Columbia. "MU Researchers Argue For Better Management Of Small Wetlands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981009081539.htm>.
University Of Missouri, Columbia. (1998, October 9). MU Researchers Argue For Better Management Of Small Wetlands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981009081539.htm
University Of Missouri, Columbia. "MU Researchers Argue For Better Management Of Small Wetlands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981009081539.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins