Wetlands in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile were studied to determine their variety and type because resident wetlands had not been previously described. In 2001, 88 wetlands were sampled for vegetation, water chemistry, water depth, substrate type, and hydroperiod to develop a classification system using a combination of factor, discriminant, and cluster techniques. In 2002–2003 the classification system was applied to an additional 323 wetlands. Types were named for floristic characteristics but were cross-typed with NWI and Ramsar classifications. Types described include Carex-Nothofagus, Juncus-Glyceria, Hippuris-Myriophyllum, Ranunculus, and Schoenoplectus marshes; peatlands; and vegas. Lake/ponds and mudflats were also identified. Wetlands were found in basins, slopes, and channels and have water regimes varying from saturated to permanently flooded. Differences were found in the chemical characteristics of water among wetland types and regions of the Park. Torres del Paine National Park is rich in its diversity of wetland types.
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Vol. 26 • No. 1