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Carbon in natural, cultivated, and restored depressional wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain

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doi: 10.2134/jeq2015.04.0186
Authors:Fenstermacher, D. E.; Rabenhorst, M. C.; Lang, M. W.; McCarty, G. W.; Needelman, B. A.
Author Affiliations:Primary:
University of Maryland at College Park, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, College Park, MD, United States
Other:
U. S. Department of Agriculture, United States
Volume Title:Journal of Environmental Quality
Source:and [Journal of Environmental Quality, 45(2), p.743-750. Publisher: American Society of Agronomy,] Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, United States. ISSN: 0047-2425
Publication Date:2016
Note:In English. 40 refs.; illus., incl. 2 tables
Summary:Aerial extent of wetland ecosystems has decreased dramatically since precolonial times due to the conversion of these areas for human use. Wetlands provide various ecosystem services, and conservation efforts are being made to restore wetlands and their functions, including soil carbon storage. This Mid-Atlantic Regional USDA Wetland Conservation Effects Assessment Project study was conducted to evaluate the effects and effectiveness of wetland conservation practices along the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. This study examined 48 wetland sites in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina under natural, prior converted cropland, and 5- to 10-yr post wetland restoration states. The North Carolina sites mainly contained soils dominated by organic soil materials and therefore were analyzed separately from the rest of the sites, which primarily contained mineral soils. Soil samples were collected using the bulk density core method by horizon to a depth of 1 m and were analyzed for percent carbon. The natural wetlands were found to have significantly greater carbon stocks (21.5 ± 5.2 kg C m-2) than prior converted croplands (7.95 ± 1.93 kg C m-2; p < 0.01) and restored wetlands (4.82 ± 1.13 kg C m-2; p < 0.001). The restored and prior converted sites did not differ significantly, possibly the result of the methods used to restore the wetlands, and the relatively young age of the restored sites. Wetlands were either restored by plugging drainage structures, with minimal surface disturbance, or by scraping the surface (i.e., excavation) to increase hydroperiod. Sites restored with the scraping technique had significantly lower carbon stocks (2.70 ± 0.38 kg C m-2) than those restored by passive techniques (6.06 ± 1.50 kg C m-2; p = 0.09). Therefore, techniques that involve excavation and scraping to restore hydrology appear to negatively affect C storage.
Subjects:Carbon; Carbon cycle; Carbon dioxide; Carbon sequestration; Coastal environment; Concentration; Drainage basins; Ecosystems; Environmental management; Geochemical cycle; Histosols; Horizon differentiation; Intertidal environment; Land use; Mineral composition; Organic carbon; Reclamation; Soils; Wetlands; Atlantic Coastal Plain; Carolina Bays; Chesapeake Bay; Delaware; Delmarva Peninsula; Maryland; North Carolina; United States
Coordinates:N370900 N394000 W0750400 W0762100
Record ID:798688-7
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2021 American Geosciences Institute.
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