Carbon Storage Atlas

The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership



Site: Forested Wetlands – Rutgers University




Dix Wildlife Manage Area, Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey
Terrestrial Forested Wetlands: 39.33776, -74.983850 (approximate, multiple test sites)

Why this Location?

This study investigated the potential for carbon storage through the restoration of agricultural land into forested wetlands. Successful site selection met the following criteria: (1) historical record of agricultural land use; (2) current hardwood forested wetlands; (3) presence of drained hydric soil; (4) documentation of mitigation or restoration actions (time of planting or restoring, planted densities and species composition, actions taken to re-establish wetland hydrology, etc.); (5) availability of existing nearby agricultural fields on similar soil type that have not been restored; and (6) the tree community was established enough to be considered as forest (>10 years old).

Main Research Q&As Discovered

The objective of this study was to quantify carbon storage in both biomass and soil of a series of forested wetlands with different restoration ages that were exclusively restored from the drained agricultural lands. This study showed that forested wetland stored approximately 124 to 382 metric ton carbon per hectare, depending on age, in contrast to approximately 40 metric ton carbon per hectare in agricultural land. The annual carbon storage rates in the wetland soil, litter, and tree biomass were estimated to be 8.35 metric ton carbon per hectare per year for the forested wetland ecosystem.

Lessons Learned

The superior potential for forested wetlands over farmland and even upland forests in storing carbon may partially be credited to its abundant water supply, balanced organic matter mineralization and nutrient immobilization processes (indicated by carbon:nitrogen ratio), and anoxic wetland soil condition.

Story of Interest

The forested wetlands field tests were completed at the Dix Wildlife Manage Area in New Jersey. Many forested wetlands have been drained for other land use, but the forest provides a natural option for carbon storage. The tests suggested that the restoration of forested wetlands have great potential in storing the atmospheric carbon into the biomass and soil, which should be considered while developing carbon management policy as well as wetland mitigation policy.

Links to EDX

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