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Wetland systems

Wetlands are usually divided into broad systems based on their general characteristics which is useful for managing wetlands with different functional needs. The wetlands have been further classified according to a range of criteria, including the type of ecological system (riverine, estuarine etc.), climate, soils and other attributes.

More information and detail on the definitions is included in the Wetland Mapping and Classification Methodology

Nobbler Creek South Cape Hillsborough, Photo by Nick Cuff

Quick facts

Undara Lava Tubes
in far north Queensland is a groundwater dependent cave system formed by lava. These cave systems can fill with water during floods and hold water during dry times[1].
Plants
often use groundwater that we can't see. This vegetation is part of a groundwater dependent ecosystem.

Wetland on-line education modules

A series of on-line education modules, including What is a wetland?, has been prepared as a resource for people who want to learn more about wetlands.

Users can download and use the contents of this education module to meet their learning and training needs. This information should be used in conjunction with information found on this website.

This resource outlines the key principles of a wetland defination and should not be used for statutory purpose.

Mangrove, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Estuarine wetlands are those with oceanic water sometimes diluted with freshwater run-off from the land.

Cape Bedford Photo, Photo by Nick Cuff

Marine wetlands include the area of ocean from the coastline or estuary, extending to the jurisdictional limits of Queensland waters (3 nautical mile limit). This definition differs from that in Ramsar, as it includes waters deeper than 6m below the lowest astronomical tide.

Chinchilla Weir, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Lacustrine wetlands are large, open, water-dominated systems (for example, lakes) larger than 8ha. This definition also applies to modified systems (for example, dams), which are similar to lacustrine systems (for example, deep, standing or slow-moving waters).

100 Mile Swamp, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Palustrine wetlands are primarily vegetated non-channel environments of less than 8 hectares. They include billabongs, swamps, bogs, springs, soaks etc, and have more than 30% emergent vegetation.

Einasleigh River, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Riverine wetlands are all wetlands and deepwater habitats within a channel. The channels are naturally or artificially created, periodically or continuously contain moving water, or connecting two bodies of standing water.

Photo by Moya Tomlinson

Subterranean wetlands are wetlands occurring below the surface of the ground and that are fed by groundwater i.e. caves and aquifers. These wetlands provide water to groundwater dependent ecosystems.

Einasleigh River, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Riverine wetlands are all wetlands and deepwater habitats within a channel. The channels are naturally or artificially created, periodically or continuously contain moving water, or connecting two bodies of standing water.

Chinchilla Weir, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Lacustrine wetlands are large, open, water-dominated systems (for example, lakes) larger than 8ha. This definition also applies to modified systems (for example, dams), which are similar to lacustrine systems (for example, deep, standing or slow-moving waters).

100 Mile Swamp, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Palustrine wetlands are primarily vegetated non-channel environments of less than 8 hectares. They include billabongs, swamps, bogs, springs, soaks etc, and have more than 30% emergent vegetation.

Cape Bedford Photo, Photo by Nick Cuff

Marine wetlands include the area of ocean from the coastline or estuary, extending to the jurisdictional limits of Queensland waters (3 nautical mile limit). This definition differs from that in Ramsar, as it includes waters deeper than 6m below the lowest astronomical tide.

Mangrove, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Estuarine wetlands are those with oceanic water sometimes diluted with freshwater run-off from the land.

Photo by Moya Tomlinson

Subterranean wetlands are wetlands occurring below the surface of the ground and that are fed by groundwater i.e. caves and aquifers. These wetlands provide water to groundwater dependent ecosystems.


References

  1. ^ Nielsen, D, Brock, M, Rees, G & Baldwin, D 2003, 'Effects of increasing salinity on freshwater ecosystems in Australia', Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 51, p. 655.

Last updated: 12 May 2015

This page should be cited as:

Wetland systems, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland, viewed 30 October 2017, <https://wetlandinfo.ehp.qld.gov.au/wetlands/what-are-wetlands/definitions-classification/system-definitions.html>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Heritage Protection