The Ecosystem of the Wadden Sea

by B. Reineking, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Wihelmshaven, Germany,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastlines of the Southern North Sea


The Wadden Sea is a unique landscape and one of the last large and relatively undisturbed ecosystems in northwest Europe and therefore a wetland of international importance. At the same time the Wadden Sea, which extends over parts of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, is an area where people live, work and recreated and a lot of human uses take place. The Wadden Sea is a natural ecosystem with a wide range of ecosystems and habitats for flora and fauna, in which natural processes take place in a more or less undisturbed way. The importance of the Wadden Sea, considering the high ecological value, the functions for the North Sea and its vulnerability, are presented in this paper. By means of changes in the Wadden Sea ecosystems in the past and their causes, the natural changes and the still occurring impacts and effects of human uses and activities will be stated with examples.

Subject Headings: Ecosystems | Seas and oceans | Human and behavioral factors | Wetlands (fresh water) | Tides | Oceanography | Landscaping | Wadden Sea | Europe | North Sea | Netherlands | Germany | Denmark

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