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SFS Annual Meeting

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Pocosin wetlands are efficient carbon sinks found in the southeastern US. Hydrologic restoration to pre-disturbance water levels seeks to recover carbon storage as a climate mitigation strategy. Raising water table levels can lead to reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but may increase methane (CH4) emissions. We measured CO2, CH4, and N2O emissions before, during, and after re-wetting wetlands at the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Pre-restoration means of CO2 and N2O fluxes were 2x higher in sites scheduled for restoration than reference sites (CO2 350±77 mg m-2 hr-1, 176±120 mg m-2 hr-1, N2O: 85±34 µg m-2 hr-1, 36±22 µg m-2 hr-1 respectively). While CH4 fluxes varied widely among sites (1.48±22.2 µg m-2 hr-1 restored, -4.48±44.2 µg m-2 hr-1 reference). Mean water table depths were lower at sites scheduled to be restored compared to reference sites (-0.63m vs. -0.37m, respectively) partially explaining the higher CO2 fluxes (F=22.8, p<0.01). We expect that decreased levels of CO2 fluxes will not be offset by increased CH4 emissions, resulting in net carbon storage in these restored pocosin wetlands.

Luise Armstrong (Primary Presenter/Author), East Carolina University,;

Ariane Peralta ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), East Carolina University,;

Marcelo Ardon ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), North Carolina State University,;