Freshwater wetlands

Vegetation formation map

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Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation formation


Freshwater wetlands are ecosystems that are affected by permanent or temporary inundation. They play a crucial role in the regulation of water flow water quality to whole catchments, are key habitat for fauna (including migratory species) and provide refuge for fauna during droughts.

The majority of freshwater wetlands occur in the inland catchments of New South Wales. Dominated by shrubs, sedges and herbs, this vegetation classification excludes wetlands that occur in the alpine zone (Alpine Bogs and Fens), are dominated by trees (Forested Wetlands) or contain significant quantities of salt (Saline Wetlands).

Plants and animals are influenced by water regime; that is, the timing, frequency, duration, extent, depth and variability of inundation. These affect physical factors such as light availability, nutrients and gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) as well as biological processes such as microbial activity, seed dispersal, germination, herbivory and reproduction. These complex interactions produce wetlands that are variable not only between different locations, but within each wetland itself.

Freshwater wetlands are highly productive environments that support an abundance of micro-invertebrates, crustaceans, fish, frogs and water birds. They have been altered dramatically by humans, via draining and aeration of fertile soils into productive cropping lands or urban development. Diversion and regulation of water flows for irrigation of inland crops has also had a profound effect. As a result, freshwater wetlands continue to be degraded, reduced in area, while many communities have experienced a change in composition, structure and functioning.

Threatened species in this vegetation formation

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Freshwater wetlands formation.

Find species in a more specific vegetation class

The Freshwater wetlands formation can be divided into the following classes. Select a vegetation class on the list below to see a list of species associated with it: