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Integrating geographically isolated wetlands into land management decisions

Golden, Heather E, Creed, Irena F, Ali, Genevieve, Basu, Nandita B, Neff, Brian P, Rains, Mark C, McLaughlin, Daniel L, Alexander, Laurie C, Ameli, Ali A, Christensen, Jay R, Evenson, Grey R, Jones, Charles N, Lane, Charles R, Lang, Megan
Frontiers in ecology and the environment 2017 v.15 no.6 pp. 319-327
decision making, ecosystem services, highlands, land management, models, surface water, watersheds, wetlands
Wetlands across the globe provide extensive ecosystem services. However, many wetlands – especially those surrounded by uplands, often referred to as geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs) – remain poorly protected. Protection and restoration of wetlands frequently requires information on their hydrologic connectivity to other surface waters, and their cumulative watershed‐scale effects. The integration of measurements and models can supply this information. However, the types of measurements and models that should be integrated are dependent on management questions and information compatibility. We summarize the importance of GIWs in watersheds and discuss what wetland connectivity means in both science and management contexts. We then describe the latest tools available to quantify GIW connectivity and explore crucial next steps to enhancing and integrating such tools. These advancements will ensure that appropriate tools are used in GIW decision making and maintaining the important ecosystem services that these wetlands support.