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About SWS


The mission of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) is to promote understanding, conservation, protection, restoration, science-based management, and sustainability of wetlands.


Wetland science will:

  • Form the basis of the public's understanding of the important functions and values of wetlands
  • Advance as a rigorous interdisciplinary endeavor and body of knowledge
  • Provide the foundation for management, restoration, conservation and policy

The Society of Wetland Scientists will:

  • Strive to be recognized as the world leader in wetland science
  • Lead the education of wetland professionals and the public regarding wetland science and applications
  • Continue to promote the development of wetland science programs around the world, particularly in developing countries
  • Continue to promote diversity among SWS members and other wetland professionals
  • Actively promote the inclusion of sound science in wetland policy and stewardship


  • To operate solely and exclusively as a charitable and educational organization to foster conservation and understanding of wetlands
  • To advance public education and enlightenment concerning wetland resources
  • To provide an independent forum for an interchange of ideas and data developed within wetland science
  • To develop and encourage wetland science as a distinct discipline by supporting student education, curriculum development and research
  • To encourage and evaluate the educational, scientific and technological development and advancement of all branches of wetland science and practice
  • To encourage the knowledge management of wetland resources


The Society of Wetland Scientists was formed in 1980 by Richard Macomber, a biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Board of Rivers and Harbors. From its inception, the SWS has been notable for providing a forum for scientists and managers to meet and work together. That same year, the first SWS annual conference was held in Tampa, Florida, US.

The first issue of Wetlands, the Society's premier international journal, was published in 1981 as proceedings for the annual meeting. Since that time, Wetlands has evolved into a quarterly journal communicating research to an expanding community of international and interdisciplinary wetland professionals.

Today, SWS has over 3,000 members in more than 60 countries. SWS has members in governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia and private consulting. However, Society membership is open to anyone with an interest in wetlands.

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