Mangrove ecosystems are an important wetland community. Mangrove ecosystems include producers, such as mangrove trees and algae, primary consumers, such as fish and clams, and secondary consumers such as crabs, birds, and starfish.

Illustration by National Geographic Education
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    On February 2, 1997, environmentalists first celebrated World Wetlands Day. The day marks the signing of the so-called Ramsar Convention in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. This international agreement provides a framework for the conservation and sustainable development of the world’s wetlands. 
    Today, more than 2,000 sites are part of the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. These sites range from the enormous inland delta of the Okavango River in Botswana to the tiny lake of Mai Pokhari in Nepal to the “Nation’s Estuary” of the United States, Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia.
    Wetlands provide unique, often brackish, habitats for a wide variety of plant, animal, and fungal species. Mangroves, rushes, and other wetland plants help prevent soil erosion, supporting local agriculture. Coastal wetlands also serve as crucial “shock absorbers” for storm surges that could devastate inland communities.
    World Wetlands Day raises awareness of these and other aspects of the ecological importance of swamps, marshes, bogs, and other wetland ecosystems.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    agriculture Noun

    the art and science of cultivating the land for growing crops (farming) or raising livestock (ranching).

    Encyclopedic Entry: agriculture
    aspect Noun

    view or interpretation.

    biodiversity Noun

    all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area.

    Encyclopedic Entry: biodiversity
    bog Noun

    wetland of soft ground made mostly of decaying plant matter.

    brackish water Noun

    salty water, usually a mixture of seawater and freshwater.

    conservation Noun

    management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    crucial Adjective

    very important.

    delta Noun

    the flat, low-lying plain that sometimes forms at the mouth of a river from deposits of sediments.

    Encyclopedic Entry: delta
    devastate Verb

    to destroy.

    ecosystem Noun

    community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

    Encyclopedic Entry: ecosystem
    environmentalist Noun

    person who studies or works to protect the Earth's ecosystems.

    erosion Noun

    act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice.

    Encyclopedic Entry: erosion
    estuary Noun

    mouth of a river where the river's current meets the sea's tide.

    Encyclopedic Entry: estuary
    habitat Noun

    environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: habitat
    marsh Noun

    wetland area usually covered by a shallow layer of seawater or freshwater.

    Encyclopedic Entry: marsh
    saturate Verb

    to fill one substance with as much of another substance as it can take.

    storm surge Noun

    abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. Also called a storm tide.

    Encyclopedic Entry: storm surge
    sustainable development Noun

    human construction, growth, and consumption that can be maintained with minimal damage to the natural environment.

    swamp Noun

    land permanently saturated with water and sometimes covered with it.

    Encyclopedic Entry: swamp
    unique Adjective

    one of a kind.

    wetland Noun

    area of land covered by shallow water or saturated by water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: wetland