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Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Feb;21(2):96-103. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Regional and global concerns over wetlands and water quality.

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Landscape Ecology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, PO Box 800.84, 3508 TB Utrecht, the Netherlands.


Water quality in many stream catchments and river basins is severely impacted by nutrient enrichment as a result of agriculture. Water-resource managers worldwide are considering the potential role of riparian zones and floodplain wetlands in improving stream-water quality, as there is evidence at the site scale that such wetlands are efficient at removing nutrients from through-flowing water. However, recent studies have highlighted disadvantages of such use of wetlands, including emissions of greenhouse gases and losses of biodiversity that result from prolonged nutrient loading. Here, we discuss the water purification function of wetlands at the site and catchment scale and suggest ways in which these disadvantages could be overcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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