Although the use of wetlands as a zone for marginal pastoral activity has declined there is increasing awareness of their value as 'the kidneys of the landscape' for their capacity to absorb wastewaters, disperse floods and detoxify organic wastes. The growth of wetlands in coastal habitats, which receive sediment loads from periodic flooding, can help to raise shorelines, especially where they are adjacent to salt marshes. If undisturbed, they remain one of the few true wilderness areas, where plant and animal wildlife, especially waterfowl and wading birds, live in communities that reflect a landscape which is timeless and provides a glimpse of scenes with which our ancestors would have been familiar in past centuries, including the continuation of wild-fowling. The cultural and ecological value of wetlands are now increasingly being recognized and they are much better appreciated as wildlife reserves as well as for natural overflow areas in diverting floodwater. This latter aspect is assuming increasing importance with the danger of rising sea levels and the greater intensity of precipitation that is now becoming more frequent.
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