Ecosystem services are natural assets produced by the environment and utilized by humans, such as clean\ud air, water, food and materials and contributes to social and cultural well-being. This concept, arguably, has been\ud developed further in wetlands than any other ecosystem. Wetlands were historically important in producing the\ud extensive coal deposits of the Carboniferous period; key steps in human development took place in communities\ud occupying the wetland margins of rivers, lakes and the sea; and wetlands play a key role in the hydrological cycle\ud influencing floods and river droughts. In this paper we examine three pillars that support the wetland research\ud agenda: hydrology, wetland origins and development, and linkages to society. We investigate these through an\ud overview of the evolution of wetland science and assessment of the wide range of topics relating to ecosystem\ud services covered in this Special Issue. We explain the seminal change in how modern society values the benefits\ud of natural ecosystems and highlights the pathfinder role that wetland research has played in the paradigm shift
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