Black Swamp Wildflowers dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the natural heritage of Northwest Ohio

Wetland Forest

Partners/Sponsors

The beech-maple-dominated forest retains many characteristics of areas present in the Great Black Swamp at the time of settlement.
Although a common belief considers forested wetlands little more than a nuisance, such areas represent in fact an essential component of our local landscape. Wetlands of the Lake Erie watershed serve many functions with their ability to (1) control flooding as they quickly retain large amounts of precipitation and release it slowly over time, (2) recharge groundwater sources for local and regional water cycles, (3) prevent large quantities of sediment, fertilizers, and pesticides from entering the western Lake Erie, (4) reduce air-born, chemical drift by absorbing and neutralizing pollutants, (5) reduce wind damage to structures as well as soil errosion, (6) provide critical wildlife habitats for organisms ranging from endangered amphibians to charismatic species such as the Bald Eagle, (7) increase the storage of carbon by incorporating it into plant and animal life, and (8) improve the diversity, stability, and aesthetic value of our landscape. Continued "improvement" will only bring us more polluted water, fewer economic opportunities, and inevitable floods.
Historically, mature woods with hydric soils dominated much of the 4000 km2 (1500 square miles) of the former Great Black Swamp. More than 99% of such habitats have since been destroyed, leaving behind only dispersed remnants within a dwindling patchwork.
In the eyes of landowners, however, direct and tangible benefits derived from draining and developing such properties frequently win out against our broader, societal interests in maintaining these amazing systems of natural filtration. The destruction of each such element within our surrounding thus reduces the richness of our society and takes away yet another bit of our quality of life. It is our hope that this project will contribute to a better understanding of the value of natural areas and to specifically improve public attitudes towards wetland conservation.

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Pages created and maintained by Robert Huber and Moira van Staaden. Contact us at if you are interested to utilize the site for educational, research, or public outreach projects. Comments, suggestions and critiques welcome blackswamp.oh@gmail.com or (419) 833-1241