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Term Wetland

According to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, a wetland is an extension of a marsh, swamp or peat, or a natural or artificial surface permanently or temporarily covered with static or flowing fresh, brackish or salt water, and including areas of seawater with low tide depths that do not exceed six meters.

The functions of wetlands include flood control, nutrient, sediment or pollutant retention, food chain maintenance, shoreline stabilization and erosion control, protection against storms and stabilization of local climatic conditions, in particular rainfall and temperature. Wetlands are classified into two types: natural and artificial.

Among the natural wetlands are coastal wetlands, which are ecosystems with vegetation exposed and periodically flooded by salt or brackish water from tides or storms. In the Dominican Republic, natural wetlands occupy an area of ??approximately 1.673 km2, including some 284 lagoons and 20 estuaries. Wetlands play an important role in the conservation of natural resources, particularly biodiversity, as they host many of the country’s native plant, animal, and endemic species.1 Some natural wetlands in the country include Lake Enriquillo (an international wetland or Ramsar site), Laguna de Oviedo, Laguna de Bávaro, Laguna Redonda, Laguna Limón, Caño de Estero Hondo and Laguna de Cabral or Rincón. Natural wetlands are also important in the Jaragua and Monte Cristi National Parks.

Artificial wetlands are built and/or managed by humans, including ponds for raising fish and shrimp, dams or reservoirs, irrigated farmlands, flooded depressions, reservoirs and channels. They reach about 4291.56 km2 and are located mainly in the Pozo de Nagua rice plain, and are fed by the Yuna River, the bottom of the Yaque del Norte River and most of the San Juan Valley. These areas are exploited for intensive rice crops, a common artificial wetland species and staple food of over half of humanity.

1Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Atlas de los Recursos Naturales de la República Dominicana; Editora Búho: Santo Domingo, DO., 2004.


Additional Information
PhotoThe wetlands of Monte Cristi National Park
Topic  BiodiversityProtected areasResources coastal / marine