Swamp


Swamp

A swamp is a wetland featuring temporary or permanent inundation of large areas of land, by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a substantial number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. [ [http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/fringe/glossary.html Swamp] (from glossary webpage of the United States Geological Survey)] The water of a swamp may be fresh water or salt water. A swamp is also generally defined as having no substantial peat deposits. [ [http://www.nsc.org/ehc/glossar2.htm Swamp] (from the glossary of the Environmental Health Center, National Safety Council)]

In North America, swamps are usually regarded as including a large amount of woody vegetation, but elsewhere this may not necessarily apply, such as in African swamps dominated by papyrus. By contrast a marsh in North America is a wetland without woody vegetation, or elsewhere, a wetland without woody vegetation which is shallower and has less open water surface than a swamp. A mire (or quagmire) is a low-lying wetland of deep, soft soil or mud that sinks underfoot.

Geology

Swamps are generally characterised by very slow-moving waters. They are usually associated with adjacent rivers or lakes. In some cases, rivers become swamps for a distance. Swamps are features of areas with very low topographic relief, although they may be surrounded by mountains.

Ecology

Swamps are characterised by rich biodiversity and specialized organisms such as frogs. [ [http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/frogs_toads/index.html Frogs & toads] ] For instance, southeastern U.S. swamps, such as those mentioned above, feature trees such as the Bald cypress and Water tupelo, which are adapted to growing in standing water, and animals such as the American alligator. A common species name in biological nomenclature is the Latin "palustris", meaning "of the swamp". Examples of this are "Quercus palustris" (pin oak) and "Thelypteris palustris" (marsh fern).

Draining

Swamps were historically often drained to provide additional land for agriculture, and to reduce the threat of diseases born by swamp insects and similar animals. Swamps were generally seen as useless and even dangerous. This practice of swamp draining is nowadays seen as a destruction of a very valuable ecological habitat type of which large tracts have already disappeared in many countries.

Famous examples

In Iraq

The Tigris-Euphrates river system is a large swamp and river system in southern Iraq, inhabited in part by the Marsh Arabs. It was partly drained by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s in retaliation against the Shiite tribes' revolt against his dictatorship.

In the United States

The most famous swamps in the United States are the Everglades, Okefenokee Swamp and the Great Dismal Swamp. The Okefenokee is located in extreme southeastern Georgia and extends slightly into northeastern Florida. The Great Dismal Swamp lies in extreme southeastern Virginia and extreme northeastern North Carolina. Both are National Wildlife Refuges. Another swamp area, Reelfoot Lake of extreme western Tennessee, was created by the New Madrid earthquake of 1812. Caddo Lake, the Great Dismal and Reelfoot are swamps that are centered at large lakes. Swamps are often called "bayous" in the southeastern United States, especially in the Gulf Coast region.

Heraldry

A swamp appears in the coat of arms of Gesturi, Italy.

List of major swamps

Africa

*Bangweulu Swamps, Zambia
*Okavango Swamp, Botswana
*Sudd, Sudan
*Niger Delta, Nigeria

Asia

*Asmat Swamp, Indonesia
*Vasyugan Swamp, Russia

North America

*Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, United States
*Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida, United States
*Great Black Swamp, Indiana/Ohio, United States
*Great Cypress Swamp, Maryland, United States, also known as Great Pocomoke Swamp
*Great Dismal Swamp, North Carolina/Virginia, United States
*Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey, United States
*Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana, United States
*Limberlost, Indiana, United States
*Louisiana swamplands, Louisiana, United States
*Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia/Florida, United States
*Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee, United States
*Everglades, Florida, United States

outh America

*Lahuen Ñadi, Chile
*Pantanal, Brazil
*Paraná Delta, Argentina

ee also

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Swamp — Swamp, n. [Cf. AS. swam a fungus, OD. swam a sponge, D. zwam a fungus, G. schwamm a sponge, Icel. sv[ o]ppr, Dan. & Sw. swamp, Goth. swamms, Gr. somfo s porous, spongy.] Wet, spongy land; soft, low ground saturated with water, but not usually… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swamp — [swɒmp ǁ swɑːmp] verb [transitive] 1. to suddenly give someone a lot of work or things to deal with: • The flood of orders swamped some understaffed trading desks. swamp be swamped (with something) • Brokers said they were swamped with calls… …   Financial and business terms

  • swamp — [swämp, swômp] n. [< dial. var. (or LowG cognate) of ME sompe, akin to MLowG swamp, Goth & OE swamm, fungus, mushroom < IE base * swomb(h)os, spongy, porous > Gr somphos, spongy] a piece of wet, spongy land that is permanently or… …   English World dictionary

  • swamp — 1624 (first used by Capt. John Smith, in reference to Virginia), perhaps a dialectal survival from an O.E. cognate of O.N. svoppr sponge, fungus, from P.Gmc. *swampuz; but traditionally connected with M.E. sompe morass, swamp, probably from M.Du …   Etymology dictionary

  • swamp — swamp; swamp·ber·ry; swamp·er; swamp·i·ness; …   English syllables

  • swamp|y — «SWOM pee, SWM », adjective, swamp|i|er, swamp|i|est. 1. like a swamp; soft and wet: »swampy ground. The front yard is swampy from the heavy rain. SYNONYM(S): boggy, marshy …   Useful english dictionary

  • Swamp — Swamp, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Swamped}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Swamping}.] 1. To plunge or sink into a swamp. [1913 Webster] 2. (Naut.) To cause (a boat) to become filled with water; to capsize or sink by whelming with water. [1913 Webster] 3. Fig.: To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Swamp — Swamp, v. i. 1. To sink or stick in a swamp; figuratively, to become involved in insuperable difficulties. [1913 Webster] 2. To become filled with water, as a boat; to founder; to capsize or sink; figuratively, to be ruined; to be wrecked. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swamp — [n] wet land covered with vegetation bog, bottoms, everglade, fen, glade, holm, marsh, marshland, mire, moor, morass, mud, muskeg, peat bog, polder, quag, quagmire, slough, swale, swampland; concept 509 swamp [v] overwhelm, flood beset, besiege,… …   New thesaurus

  • swamp|er — «SWOM puhr, SWM », noun. U.S. 1. a person who lives in a swamp or swampy region: »Everybody thought we were just a state of hillbillies and swampers (Time). 2. a) a person who works clearing roads for lumberjacks or clearing fallen trees of limbs …   Useful english dictionary

  • swamp — index immerse (plunge into), inundate, overcome (overwhelm) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary


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