Wetland carbon storage and flux in the Prairie Pothole Region

Science Center Objects

Wetlands significantly contributes to regional, national and global carbon budgets. Because prairie-pothole wetlands have 1) highly productive vegetation and 2) low rates of carbon decomposition, they are ideal systems for accumulating and storing carbon in the soil. However, because prairie-pothole wetlands are located in areas of intense agricultural activity, this important pool of stored carbon is at risk of being emitted to the atmosphere, potentially contributing to atmospheric radiative forcing. Furthermore, large uncertainties still remain in our understanding of the mechanisms that control wetland carbon cycling, the fate of carbon following wetland drainage or restoration, and the impact of climate and land-use change on carbon storage and flux in prairie-pothole wetlands. The overarching objective of this study is to improve National assessments of carbon storage and flux by developing a series of integrated models of land-use change and carbon dynamics across the Nation’s wetlands to assess major controlling process, characterize uncertainties, and develop future projections. This particular project will focus on emergent wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region.