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  • Are composed of coniferous or deciduous forest or tall thickets.
  • May be flooded for long periods of time or just seasonally.
  • Are productive and nutrient-rich.

Swamps are most common in temperate areas of Canada.

Muskoka Heritage Areas
classified as having a swamp:
* Are also classified as provincially significant









Swamp Characteristics

A swamp has open surface water. They are associated with rivers, lakes and waterways. They are not as wet as marshes or fens, however they still hold a significant amount of water during dry seasons. Swamps are nutrient-rich and productive.


Vegetation in a Swamp

Swamps often have open surface water, and so trees and large shrubs need to be tolerant of these conditions. The soils are constantly wet and it is the aerated (or partly aerated) soils above the water that is available for root growth.

Coniferous or deciduous forest or tall thickets are common types of swamps found in Muskoka.

Trees common in northern swamps include:

  • Red & Silver maple
  • Alder
  • Cedar
  • Hemlock
  • Dogwood
  • Willow


Wildlife Inhabitants in a Swamp

Swamps are very productive habitats and home to a wide variety of species.

Snakes are at home in a swamp because of their amazing ability to swim. Dead and fallen trees found in swamps provide habitat for an abundance of wildlife. Woodpeckers look for insects in the rotting wood and make their new home in a soft tree trunk, while ducks and Great blue herons build their nest around the trees.

MNR Wetland Fact Sheets


What are Wetlands? 
Wetlands are defined as lands that are saturated with water long enough to cause the formation of waterlogged (hydric) soils and the growth of water-loving (hydrophytic) or water-tolerant plants.

Wetlands are Important 
Surface water runoff may contain sediments, excess nutrients, viruses and pathogens and/or a variety of chemicals. A wetland acts like a filter to remove sediments, absorb nutrients and biologically change many chemicals into less harmful forms.

Significant Wetlands and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System 
Provincially Significant Wetlands are those areas identified by the province as being the most valuable. They are determined by a science-based ranking system known as the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System.

Wetland Restoration 
Ontario is home to approximately 24% of Canada's wetlands and 6% of the world's wetlands. Estimates of wetland extent in Ontario range from 24 million to 29 million hectares, or 22-27% of the area of the province.