Abstracts on Global Climate Change
       

May 2006

North American prairie wetlands are important nonforested land-based carbon storage sites

Euliss, NH Gleason, RA Olness, A McDougal, RL Murkin, HR Robarts, RD Bourbonniere, RA Warner, BG

SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 361:1-3 179-188

We evaluated the potential of prairie wetlands in North America as carbon sinks. Agricultural conversion has resulted in the average loss of 10.1 Mg ha(-1) of soil organic carbon on over 16 million ha of wetlands in this region. Wetland restoration has potential to sequester 378 Tg of organic carbon over a 10-year period. Wetlands can sequester over twice the organic carbon as no-till cropland on only about 17% of the total land area in the region. We estimate that wetland restoration has potential to offset 2.4% of the annual fossil CO2 emission reported for North America in 1990. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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