The importance of wetlands in the global ecology is undisputed. This is not only true of present wetlands, but has been true of wetlands for at least the last 400 million years. In fact, with changing flora and fauna, there has been an evolution of wetland functions and ecological links. Because many wetlands are located in lowland habitats and have poorly oxygenated substrates, they have the potential for rapid burial with little erosion and high potential for preservation. For these reasons, abundant fossil flora and fauna have been found in association with ancient wetlands, which are a cornerstone of the terrestrial fossil record and of our understanding of earth history. Likewise, the coals we use as an energy resource are ancient wetland deposits.
Wetlands through Time contains 14 research papers on the ecology and importance of ancient wetlands, spanning the time from the initial colonization of plants on land to an ice-age mammoth-bearing wetland.