Brooks adresses wetlands

Robert Brooks (photo)

October 20, 2008

Human activities from farming to construction have degraded many of the region's wetlands, but people are learning how to "build" wetlands that perform vital ecosystem services such as floodwater storage, water-quality improvement and biodiversity conservation.

That's among the conclusions that Rob Brooks, professor of geography and ecology, has reached after 15 years of assessment and restoration research in collaboration with faculty, staff, and students of the Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center. Brooks will share those findings on Monday, Oct. 20,as part of this year’s EarthTalks colloquium series, "Quenching the Thirst."

His talk, scheduled for 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 20, in 112 Walker Building, is free and open to the public.

"Our research has documented the degradation in flora, faunal communities and physical attributes, as well as the reduction in wetland functions, that has been caused by human activities," says Brooks, who is the Director of the Cooperative Wetlands Center. "Fortunately, our data from natural reference wetlands can be used to design restored and mitigated wetlands and to assess their performance."

As part of his talk, "Understanding Wetlands, the Other Water: Origins, Assessment and Restoration," Brooks will discuss freshwater wetlands, where they are found, how they are formed and what ecosystems services they provide. He also will examine how wetlands’ interact with streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries in a watershed context.

"Quenching the Thirst" is sponsored by the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.