The Wetland Book pp 1437-1440 | Cite as

Nutrient Cycling in Wetlands

  • Mark Everard
Reference work entry


Wetlands play important roles in nutrient cycling, transforming and changing the mobility and biological availability of growth-promoting and, when in deficit, growth-limiting chemical substances. Nutrient cycling is a supporting ecosystem services. The supporting services are perhaps the most overlooked of all ecosystem services, relating largely to processes within ecosystems – also including soil formation, habitat for wildlife, photosynthetic productivity and oxygen generation, and water recycling – that though not directly consumed are fundamental for the resilience of ecosystems and their capacity to produce other, more directly consumed services.

Enrichment of ecosystems by mined phosphorus, remobilizing phosphorus sequestered by long-term processes, is a pernicious problem resulting in eutrophication of water and soils. Agriculture is a major source of diffuse nutrient pollution globally, representing a particular hazard to wetlands and their ecosystem services. However, wetland systems are effective at attenuating phosphorus, and this supporting service may potentially be exploited not merely to reduce nutrient loads from wastewater and diffuse run-off but also for nutrient recovery.


Nutrient Cycling Phosphorus Nitrogen Silicon Supporting service Eutrophication Nitrification Denitrification 


  1. Everard M. Taking a systems-oriented view of phosphorus enrichment in fresh waters. Freshw Forum. 2001;15:35–54.Google Scholar
  2. Everard M, Harrington R, McInnes RJ. Facilitating implementation of landscape-scale integrated water management: the integrated constructed wetland concept. Ecosyst Serv. 2012;2:27–37. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2012.08.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hoffmann JP, Cassel EA, Drake JC, Levine SN, Meals DW, Wang D. Understanding phosphorus cycling: transport and storage in stream ecosystems as a basis for phosphorus management. Final technical report. Grand Isle: Lake Champlain Basin Program; 1996.Google Scholar
  4. Mainstone CP, Parr W, Day M. Phosphorus and river ecology: tackling sewage inputs. Peterborough: English Nature and Environment Agency; 2000.Google Scholar
  5. May R. A new beginning. In: A new century, a new resolution. London: WWF and The Guardian; 2000.Google Scholar
  6. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2005a.Google Scholar
  7. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and human well-being: wetlands and water synthesis. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute; 2005b.Google Scholar
  8. Odum HT. Systems ecology. New York: Wiley; 1982.Google Scholar
  9. Odum EP. Basic ecology. Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing; 1983.Google Scholar
  10. WWF. Living planet report. Godalming: Worldwide Fund for Nature; 1999.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Water Security NetworkUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

Personalised recommendations