People seldom think of wet soil until they step in it, but the Earth’s soggy places quietly do the work of legions: holding together coasts, giving shelter to young fish, preventing floods, filtering water, storing carbon and providing a legacy of fertile soil — quite a job for some mud. Covering roughly one-tenth of the land area of Earth, places with wet soils — wetlands, fens, springs, swamps, peatlands, floodplains, moorlands — provide an estimated $27 trillion in benefits to humanity every year. However, as climate change accelerates, the number, intensity, and speed of droughts in these places are expected to rise. And, according to a review paper published in Earth-Science Reviews, researchers still have much to learn about the effects of drought on wet soil. “Fens, swamps, bogs, floodplains, springs and moorlands are some of the most productive places on the planet, and we’re losing them at an astonishing rate,” study co-author Erinne Stirling, from Zhejiang University, China, and the University of Adelaide, Australia, wrote in a blog post about the review. The review, which draws upon more than 200 published studies, says, “drought poses a significant threat to wet soils, a threat which can be difficult to determine before an event but which poses a catastrophic risk to some sites.” A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) eating a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) hatchling. These animals depend on wetlands for their survival. Photo by John Harrison via Wikimedia Commons. (CC BY-SA 3.0). The researchers describe how droughts lead…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer