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How wetlands function (processes)

Ecosystem processes include the biological, physical and chemical processes that help form, maintain and support a system. Ecosystem processes describe the interactions between components. Ecological processes include all those processes that occur between organisms and within and between populations and communities, including interactions with the non-living environment that result in existing ecosystems and bring about changes in ecosystems over time (adapted from[2][1]).

Rain on mountains near Cooktown. Photo by Gary Cranitch © Queensland Museum

Quick facts

Ecosystem functions
is a another term for environmental processes or groups of environmental processes.

In some cases it may be necessary to consider broader environmental processes that may be physical or chemical and not directly involve organisms. Environmental processes play a key role in influencing the extent, condition and biodiversity of ecosystems[3].

Physical processes include changes in temperature, light, rainfall, energy, sedimentation, tides and the coastline.

Chemical processes include changes in pH, nutrients, salinity, oxygen, oxidation-reduction and carbon

Biological processes include changes in flora or fauna species composition, reproduction, regeneration, dispersal, pollination, feeding, competition and human influences.

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  1. ^ Australian Natural Heritage Charter for the conservation of places of natural heritage significance – second edition (2002), Australian Heritage Commission, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
  2. ^ National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australia’s Ramsar Wetlands. Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 2: Interim Australian National Aquatic Ecosystem (ANAE) Classification Framework (2008). [online], Australian Government, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), Canberra, ACT. Available at:
  3. ^ Plant, R, Taylor, C, Hamstead, M & Prior, T (2012), Recognising the broader benefits of aquatic systems in water planning: an ecosystem services approach. Waterlines report, National Water Commission, Canberra, ACT.

Last updated: 6 October 2023

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2023) How wetlands function (processes), WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation