In southern Africa, wetlands of different types are an integral part of the drainage network, yet evolve and are sensitive to different combinations of geologic, climatic, geomorphic, edaphic and hydrologic controls. Understanding of these controls can help in the interpretation of environmental and climatic records from different wetland types, given that wetland sensitivity to environmental and climatic changes may vary throughout their ‘life cycle’. The chapter discusses inland wetland records from dated sites in South Africa in order to consider their significance for reconstructing late glacial and Holocene climates; and the relationship of wetlands to preservation of the Pleistocene archaeological record. Wetlands are sensitive to degradation under contemporary environmental and climatic changes, which may impact on their hydrological and ecological function as well as the integrity of associated archaeological sites.
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