Wetlands and Sustainability

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014) | Viewed by 70100

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Freshwater and saltwater wetlands are both some of the most productive ecosystems on earth but also are some of the most sensitive systems to disturbance and degradation. As we try to determine best means of protecting, management and even restoring such systems we are faced with at least two major dilemmas:

  • Tradeoffs between sustainable use of wetlands for food, fuel and fiber versus protection of ecosystem diversity and stability, and
  • Appropriate roles of Big International Non-government Organizations (BINGO’s), national and regional governments, and local community based organizations.

With the advent of climate change – another element has been added that affects sustainability of wetland ecological systems.

This special issue focuses on sustainable wetland management science with special emphasis on the two issues identified above.

Prof. Dr. Richard Smardon
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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134 KiB  
Editorial
Wetlands and Sustainability
by Richard Smardon
Water 2014, 6(12), 3724-3726; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6123724 - 28 Nov 2014
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5277
Abstract
This editorial provides an overview of the special issue “Wetlands and Sustainability”. In particular, the special issue contains a review of Paul Keddy’s book “Wetland Ecology” with specific reference to wetland sustainability. It also includes papers addressing wetland data acquisition via radar and [...] Read more.
This editorial provides an overview of the special issue “Wetlands and Sustainability”. In particular, the special issue contains a review of Paul Keddy’s book “Wetland Ecology” with specific reference to wetland sustainability. It also includes papers addressing wetland data acquisition via radar and remote sensing to better understand wetland system dynamics, hydrologic processes linked to wetland stress and restoration, coastal wetlands land use conflict/management, and wetland utilization for water quality treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)

Research

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1892 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Effects of Periodic Flooding on the Population Structure and Recruitment Rates of Riparian Tree Forests
by Jean-Sébastien Berthelot, Diane Saint-Laurent, Verhnar Gervais-Beaulac and Dominic Savoie
Water 2014, 6(9), 2614-2633; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6092614 - 27 Aug 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6886
Abstract
Riparian forest stands are subjected to a variety of hydrological stresses as a result of annual fluctuations in water levels during the growing season. Spring floods create additional water-related stress as a result of a major inflow of water that floods riverside land. [...] Read more.
Riparian forest stands are subjected to a variety of hydrological stresses as a result of annual fluctuations in water levels during the growing season. Spring floods create additional water-related stress as a result of a major inflow of water that floods riverside land. This exploratory study assesses the impacts of successive floods on tree dynamics and regeneration in an active sedimentation area, while determining the age of the stands using the recruitment rates, tree structure and tree rings based on dendrochronological analysis. Environmental data were also recorded for each vegetation quadrat. In total, 2633 tree stems were tallied throughout the quadrats (200 m2), and tree specimens were analyzed based on the various flood zones. A total of 720 specimens were counted (100 m2 strip) to measure natural regeneration. Higher recruitment rates are noted for the no-flood zones and lower rates in active floodplains. During the period of the establishment of tree species, the survival rates are comparable between the flood zones and the no-flood zones. Tree diameter distribution reveals a strong predominance of young trees in flooded areas. Different factors appear to come into play in the dynamics of riparian forest stands, including the disruptions associated with successive flooding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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8235 KiB  
Article
Detecting Emergence, Growth, and Senescence of Wetland Vegetation with Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data
by Alisa L. Gallant, Shannon G. Kaya, Lori White, Brian Brisco, Mark F. Roth, Walt Sadinski and Jennifer Rover
Water 2014, 6(3), 694-722; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6030694 - 24 Mar 2014
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 9681
Abstract
Wetlands provide ecosystem goods and services vitally important to humans. Land managers and policymakers working to conserve wetlands require regularly updated information on the statuses of wetlands across the landscape. However, wetlands are challenging to map remotely with high accuracy and consistency. We [...] Read more.
Wetlands provide ecosystem goods and services vitally important to humans. Land managers and policymakers working to conserve wetlands require regularly updated information on the statuses of wetlands across the landscape. However, wetlands are challenging to map remotely with high accuracy and consistency. We investigated the use of multitemporal polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired with Canada’s Radarsat-2 system to track within-season changes in wetland vegetation and surface water. We speculated, a priori, how temporal and morphological traits of different types of wetland vegetation should respond over a growing season with respect to four energy-scattering mechanisms. We used ground-based monitoring data and other ancillary information to assess the limits and consistency of the SAR data for tracking seasonal changes in wetlands. We found the traits of different types of vertical emergent wetland vegetation were detected well with the SAR data and corresponded with our anticipated backscatter responses. We also found using data from Landsat’s optical/infrared sensors in conjunction with SAR data helped remove confusion of wetland features with upland grasslands. These results suggest SAR data can provide useful monitoring information on the statuses of wetlands over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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2232 KiB  
Article
Wetland Planning: Current Problems and Environmental Management Proposals at Supra-Municipal Scale (Spanish Mediterranean Coast)
by María-Teresa Sebastiá-Frasquet, Vicent Altur and José-Andrés Sanchis
Water 2014, 6(3), 620-641; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6030620 - 24 Mar 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 7325
Abstract
The policies that define the use and management of wetlands in Spain have undergone tremendous changes in recent decades. During the period of 1950–1980, Land Reform Plans promoted filling and draining of these areas for agricultural use. In 1986, with the incorporation of [...] Read more.
The policies that define the use and management of wetlands in Spain have undergone tremendous changes in recent decades. During the period of 1950–1980, Land Reform Plans promoted filling and draining of these areas for agricultural use. In 1986, with the incorporation of Spain to the European Union (EU), there was a sudden change of direction in these policies, which, thereafter, pursued restoring and protecting these ecosystems. This change, combined with increasing urban development and infrastructure pressures (e.g., roads, golf courses, etc.), creates a conflict of uses which complicates the management of these ecosystems by local governments. This study analyzes the effectiveness of policies and management tools of important coastal wetlands at the local scale in the Valencian Community (Western Mediterranean Sea) using a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) methodology. A supra-municipal model of environmental planning is proposed to enable consistent management at a regional scale. This model enhances local government’s effectiveness and it can be applied in other areas with similar problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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846 KiB  
Article
Management of Tundra Wastewater Treatment Wetlands within a Lagoon/Wetland Hybridized Treatment System Using the SubWet 2.0 Wetland Model
by Annie Chouinard, Colin N. Yates, Gordon C. Balch, Sven E. Jørgensen, Brent C. Wootton and Bruce C. Anderson
Water 2014, 6(3), 439-454; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6030439 - 12 Mar 2014
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 10157
Abstract
The benefits provided by natural (e.g., non-engineered) tundra wetlands for the treatment of municipal wastewater in the Canadian Arctic are largely under-studied and, therefore, undervalued in regard to the treatment service wetlands provide to small remote Arctic communities. In this paper we present [...] Read more.
The benefits provided by natural (e.g., non-engineered) tundra wetlands for the treatment of municipal wastewater in the Canadian Arctic are largely under-studied and, therefore, undervalued in regard to the treatment service wetlands provide to small remote Arctic communities. In this paper we present case studies on two natural tundra systems which at the time of study had different management practices, in which one consisted of a facultative lake system continuously discharging into a tundra wetland, while the second system had wastewater discharged directly into a tundra wetland. We also examine the utility of the SubWet 2.0 wetland model and how it can be used to: (i) predict the outcomes of management options; and (ii) to assess treatment capacity within individual tundra wetlands to meet future needs associated with population growth and to help municipalities determine the appropriate actions required to achieve the desired level of treatment, both currently, and in a sustainable long-term manner. From this examination we argue that tundra wetlands can significantly augment common treatment practices which rely on waste stabilization ponds, by recognizing the services that wetlands already provide. We suggest that treatment targets could be more achievable if tundra wetlands are formally recognized as part of a hybridized treatment system that incorporates the combined benefits of both the waste stabilization pond and the tundra wetland. Under this scenario tundra wetlands would be recognized as part of the treatment process and not as the ‘receiving’ environment, which is how most tundra wetlands are currently categorized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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1953 KiB  
Article
Leopold’s Arboretum Needs Upstream Water Treatment to Restore Wetlands Downstream
by Joy B. Zedler, James M. Doherty and Isabel M. Rojas
Water 2014, 6(1), 104-121; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6010104 - 2 Jan 2014
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 7835
Abstract
A case study has broad relevance for urban natural reserves. Aldo Leopold’s far-reaching vision to restore historical ecosystems at the UW-Madison Arboretum has been difficult to achieve despite ~80 years of restoration work. Wetlands (~1/4 of the 485-ha reserve) resist restoration, given urban [...] Read more.
A case study has broad relevance for urban natural reserves. Aldo Leopold’s far-reaching vision to restore historical ecosystems at the UW-Madison Arboretum has been difficult to achieve despite ~80 years of restoration work. Wetlands (~1/4 of the 485-ha reserve) resist restoration, given urban watersheds and inflows of low quality water. Current conditions favor aggressive invasive plants (cattails, reed canary grass, and buckthorn)—species that do not fulfill the 1934 vision. Today, urban runoff flows into remnant natural wetlands, degraded wetlands, the iconic Curtis Prairie, and constructed wetlands. Regulations for total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) have led local municipalities to expand pre-existing sediment- and nutrient-trapping ponds from 5.67 ha (14 ac) of Arboretum land to 9.3 ha (23 ac) to protect downstream lakes. Both the runoff and the treatment facilities (with invasive plants) limit the Arboretum’s ability to achieve pre-settlement vegetation. Consistent with Leopold’s vision, we endorse Arboretum principles that urban runoff be restored to pre-settlement quality, and we recommend shifting efforts to reduce TMDLs to upstream lands in order to protect the Arboretum. Given that invasive species will persist, Leopold’s Arboretum should be rededicated to research, education, and restoration, plus sustainable management of its waters and wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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Review

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978 KiB  
Review
Constructed Wetlands for Treatment of Combined Sewer Overflow in the US: A Review of Design Challenges and Application Status
by Wendong Tao, James S. Bays, Daniel Meyer, Richard C. Smardon and Zeno F. Levy
Water 2014, 6(11), 3362-3385; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6113362 - 10 Nov 2014
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 13771
Abstract
As combined sewer systems and centralized wastewater treatment facilities age, many communities in the world are challenged by management of combined sewer overflow (CSO). Constructed wetlands are considered to be one of the green infrastructure solutions to CSOs in the US. Despite the [...] Read more.
As combined sewer systems and centralized wastewater treatment facilities age, many communities in the world are challenged by management of combined sewer overflow (CSO). Constructed wetlands are considered to be one of the green infrastructure solutions to CSOs in the US. Despite the wide application of constructed wetlands to different types of wastewaters, the stochastic and intermittent nature of CSO presents challenges for design and performance assessment of constructed wetlands. This paper reviews the application status of CSO constructed wetlands in the US, assesses the benefits of CSO constructed wetlands, identifies challenges to designing CSO constructed wetlands, and proposes design considerations. This review finds that constructed wetlands are effective in CSO treatment and relatively less expensive to build than comparable grey infrastructure. Constructed wetlands not only remove pollutants, but also mitigate the event-associated flow regime. The design challenges include incorporating considerations of green infrastructure into permit requirements, determining design capacity for highly variable flows, requiring pretreatment, and needing adaptive design and intensive monitoring. Simultaneous monitoring of flow rate and water quality at both the inflow and outflow of CSO constructed wetlands is required for performance assessment and needed to support design, but is rarely available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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Other

148 KiB  
Book Review
Wetland Ecology Principles and Conservation, Second Edition
by Richard Smardon
Water 2014, 6(4), 813-817; https://doi.org/10.3390/w6040813 - 2 Apr 2014
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 7634
Abstract
This is a book review of Wetland Ecology Principles and Conservation, second edition, by Paul Keddy. This review focuses on the book’s content as it relates to wetland sustainability for both science and management. Besides overall comments, comparisons are made with the first [...] Read more.
This is a book review of Wetland Ecology Principles and Conservation, second edition, by Paul Keddy. This review focuses on the book’s content as it relates to wetland sustainability for both science and management. Besides overall comments, comparisons are made with the first edition of the book and then very specific chapter-by-chapter relationships to wetland sustainability are made to illustrate specific applications toward wetland sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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