Wetlands in History

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Wetlands in History

Wetlands are ecosystems that are permanently or seasonally flooded by water. Classified according to their water source, they range from tidal wetlands and estuaries to floodplains, from groundwater-fed bogs and seeps to rain- or meltwater-saturated bogs and vernal pools. In past centuries, dominant actors often equated wetlands with wastelands, seeing them as obstacles to urbanization, agriculture and the exercise of state power. Due to a policy of altering these landscapes through drainage, vast wetlands have been lost to this day.

For today's ecologists, wetlands are extremely valuable ecosystems. As buffer zones and water reservoirs, they regulate the water balance. Their filter functions clean rivers and estuaries. As natural carbon reservoirs, they have climate-stabilizing functions.

The "Wetlands in History" working group deals with these intermediate water zones from the early modern period to the present day, fascinated by the fact that they are neither land nor water. The aim is to develop interdisciplinary research perspectives that not only enable us to better understand the transformation of many wetlands in history, but also to develop sustainable perspectives for dealing with them in the future.

The working group (Prof. Dr. Simone Müller, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Niggemann, Prof. Dr. Jana Osterkamp, Prof. Dr. Jens Soentgen, Prof. Dr. Lothar Schilling)  is a collaboraboration between IeK (Augsburg University), Bukowina Institut, and WZU. Head is Professor Dr. Simone Müller. The working group has been established in 2022.