The Wetland Book pp 1713-1722 | Cite as

Wetland Assessment: Overview

  • Charlie J. Stratford
Reference work entry


Wetland assessment is an important part of the wetland policy process and is defined as the identification of the status of, and threats to, wetlands as a basis for the collection of more specific information through monitoring activities. The overall aim of assessment is to answer the question: “what are the values that this wetland provides and how can humans benefit from them?” There is thus a close relationship between wetland assessment and wetland monitoring, with assessment sometimes relying on the results of monitoring, and monitoring being triggered by the results of an assessment. A range of assessment types have been developed, each with its own focus and applicability, ranging from hydrological, biological, functional and integrated assessments to vulnerability assessment. Determining and describing the status, characteristics, and worth of a particular wetland is often done by measuring the current condition of a wetland area within the context of a reference condition. Assessments can make use of existing data or collect up-to-date site data, provided by a combination of desk and field-based investigation, often with a combination of expert opinion and scientific knowledge. Depending on its focus, the scale of assessments can range from a broad overview of many functions and services on a regional or watershed scale to very specific investigations into a single wetland site. Future challenges of assessment include developments in assessment technology (e.g., using satellite sensors to assess large areas) and the involvement of the general public in collecting useful scientific information (so-called citizen science).


Wetland assessment Wetland monitoring Hydrological assessment Biological assessment Functional assessment Integrated assessment 


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© Crown 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Maclean Building, Crowmarsh GiffordWallingfordUK

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