Understanding the Subtle Difference between a Lake and a Wetland

I am sure most of you have come across the term “wetlands”. It is a common word that surfaces during talks about lakes and its ecosystems.

What exactly are wetlands?

Wetlands are usually regions where one can usually find water measuring up to 2 feet. Sometimes, there could be three to four feet water in certain patches along with a lot of vegetation. Static in nature, the wetland waters do not flow at all. It also has a strong connection with the backwaters and this causes the wetland waters to have salinity. When the tide is high, the salinity levels are pushed a notch higher.

These are the parameters stated by the Ramsar Convention. It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

By their strict definition, there are no wetlands in Bangalore!

In fact, most of the wetlands in India are found concentrated in Calcutta, Kerala, Orissa, some parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Understanding the Subtle Difference between a Lake and a Wetland 1
Source: indiancreeknaturecenter

It is an unfortunate fact that there are not many studies on wetlands of India. It is any day difficult to define a wetland. In the West European countries, they clearly distinguish between lakes and wetlands.

Lakes may definitely have a connection with streams or any other small water bodies but this does not qualify it to be called as a wetland.

The lake ecosystem and the wetland ecosystem are two different ball games.

We gratefully acknowledge the various inputs and insights provided by Dr. S Ravichandra Reddy towards the formulation of this article.

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