Wiki article on this topic: A swamp is a wetland that is forested. Many swamps occur along large rivers where they are critically dependent upon natural water level fluctuations. Other swamps occur on the shores of large lakes. Some swamps have hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodic inundation or soil saturation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp forests and "transitional" or shrub swamps. In the boreal regions of Canada, the word swamp is colloquially used for what is more correctly termed a bog, fen, or muskeg. The water of a swamp may be fresh water, brackish water or seawater. Some of the world's largest swamps are found along major rivers such as the Amazon, the Mississippi, and the Congo.
A marsh is a wetland composed mainly of grasses and reeds found near the fringes of lakes and streams, serving as a transitional area between land and aquatic ecosystems. A swamp is a wetland composed of trees and shrubs found along large rivers and lake shores.
Swamps are characterized by slow-moving to stagnant waters. Many adjoin rivers or lakes. Swamps are features of areas with very low topographic relief.
Historically, humans have drained swamps to provide additional land for agriculture and to reduce the threat of diseases borne by swamp insects and similar animals. Many swamps have also undergone intensive logging, requiring the construction of drainage ditches and canals. These ditches and canals contributed to drainage and, along the coast, allowed salt water to intrude, converting swamps to marsh or even to open water. Large areas of swamp were therefore lost or degraded. Louisiana provides a classic example of wetland loss from these combined factors. Europe has probably lost nearly half its wetlands. New Zealand lost 90 percent of its wetlands over a period of 150 years. Ecologists recognise that swamps provide valuable ecological services including flood control, fish production, water purification, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat. In many parts of the world authorities protect swamps. In parts of Europe and North America, swamp restoration projects are becoming widespread. Often the simplest steps to restoring swamps involve plugging drainage ditches and removing levees.
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