Natural environment marked by the temporary or permanent presence of water, hosting a specific flora and fauna. Examples include a marsh, bog, pond, pond, pond, estuary, etc.
An area where water, whether fresh, salty or brackish, is the main factor controlling the natural environment and the associated animal and plant life. Wetlands are fed by stream flow and/or rising water tables and are shaped by the alternation of high and low water levels. Examples include streams, peat bogs, ponds, ponds, ponds, banks, floodplains, salt meadows, mudflats, coastal marshes, estuaries. These areas are transition spaces between land and water (they are ecotones). The vegetation present has a marked hygrophilic character (which absorbs water). Like all these types of particular spaces, it has a strong biological potential (specific fauna and flora) and have a role in regulating flow and improving water quality.
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There are several regulatory definitions of the term "Wetland" depending on the text:
- According to article L211-1 of the Environmental Code, "wetlands are defined as "land, whether or not exploited, usually flooded or gorged with fresh, salty or brackish water on a permanent or temporary basis; vegetation, where it exists, is dominated by hygrophilic plants for at least part of the year".
- According to article R.211-108 of the Environmental Code, which specifies article L211-1: the criteria to be used to define a wetland are related to the morphology of the soil related to the prolonged presence of water of natural origin and the possible presence of hygrophilic plants, in the absence of hygrophilic vegetation, the morphology of the soil is sufficient to define a wetland, the delimitation of wetlands is carried out using flood or groundwater levels, or the frequencies and amplitudes of the tides.
- According to Article 1.1 of the RAMSAR Convention, a wetland is "an area of marshes, fens, peatlands or natural or artificial, permanent or temporary waters, where the water is stagnant or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine waters whose depth at low tide does not exceed 6 metres".