Extent of Canada's wetlands indicator: data sources and methods, chapter 2

2. Description and rationale of the Extent of Canada's Wetlands indicator

2.1 Description

The indicator is a measure of the extent of Canadian wetlands, and provides a baseline from which change can be measured. A wetland is defined as a land that is saturated with water long enough to promote aquatic processes as indicated by poorly drained soils, hydrophytic vegetation and various kinds of biological activity which are adapted to a wet environment.Footnote [1]

2.2 Rationale

Wetlands are one of Earth's most productive ecosystems, providing numerous ecosystem services and supporting a disproportionately high number of species, including species at risk and significant numbers of migratory birds, fish, amphibians, a wide diversity of plants, and many other species. Despite this importance, wetlands are being lost and degraded more quickly than any other ecosystem type. This indicator can serve as a baseline to track changes over time and thereby help inform proper management of wetlands in Canada.

2.3 Recent changes to the indicator

Additional data have been incorporated since the last release.

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