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This book brings together in compact form a broad scientific and sociopolitical view of US wetlands. This primer lays out the science and policy considerations to help in navigating this branch of science that is so central to conservation policy, ecosystem science and wetland regulation. It gives explanations of the attributes, functions and values of our wetlands and shows how and why public attitudes toward wetlands have changed, and the political, legal, and social conflicts that have developed from legislation intended to stem the rapid losses of wetlands. The book describes the role of wetland science in facilitating the evolution of a rational and defensible system for regulating wetlands and will shed light on many of the problems and possibilities facing those who quest to protect and conserve our wetlands.