|EULISS, N - USDI-USDS-NPWRC
|GLEASON, ROBERT - USDI-USDS-NPWRC
|MCDOUGAL, R - DUCKS UNLIMITED, CANADA
|MURKIN, H - DUCKS UNLIMITED, CANADA
|ROBARTS, R - ENVIRONMENT CANADA
|BOURBONNIERE, R - ENVIRONMENT CANADA
|WARNER, B - WETLANDS RES. CENTER
Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/13/2005
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Concern over global climate change has stimulated much interest in identifying existing and potential carbon sinks. We studied 205 wetlands in the Northern Great Plains by collecting and analyzing the soils within the wetlands. Two types of wetlands were studied: seasonal and semipermanent. Seasonal wetlands contain open water in the spring but become dry during the late summer. Semipermanent wetlands maintain open water throughout the spring, summer and fall except in years with prolonged drought. When semipermanent wetlands that had been drained and farmed were restored, we found that the organic carbon content increased from about 3% to about 5%. Thus, restoring wetlands in the Northern Great Plains will serve to decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Restoring wetlands will also help the United States meet its goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere.
Technical Abstract: We evaluated the potential of prairie pothole wetlands in North America to store atmospheric carbon. Wetland restoration in this region has potential to sequester 374 Tg of organic carbon over a 10-year period. Prairie wetlands can potentially sequester over twice the organic carbon as no-till cropland on about 23% of the total land area in the region. Wetland restoration typically involves reestablishment of adjacent grassland that provides additional carbon storage. Although studies for North America are lacking, research from a similar geographic area in Germany suggests that wetland restoration may result in reduced emission of methane and nitrous oxide.