2023 journal article

Soil organic carbon changes in a Carolina Bay wetland 15 years after restoration

Soil Science Society of America Journal.

By: C. Moritz n, M. Vepraskas & M. Ricker n

Source: ORCID
Added: January 29, 2023

Evaluating wetland restoration success is complicated. In this study, soil organic carbon (SOC) pools in a Carolina Bay wetland (CBW) were determined for pre- and post-restoration periods and compared to values in reference wetlands to determine if SOC could be used to evaluate restoration success. The CBW was Juniper Bay in Robeson County, NC, USA, that had been restored for 15 years following its use for agriculture. Previously, we determined both pre-restoration SOCs and post-restoration hydrology. Saturation occurrence and anaerobic conditions (15 years following restoration) were confirmed with Indicator of Reduction in Soils (IRIS) tubes. Soil morphological features, litter thickness, and SOC to 75 cm were also determined. There were significant (p < 0.05) differences in numbers of hydric soil field indicators in the organic soils and no differences in the mineral soils (p > 0.10) between pre- and post-restoration periods. Litter thickness post-restoration increased linearly with saturation duration. SOC decreased following restoration by 49% in mineral soils and 24% in organic soils as compared to pre-restoration values. SOC concentrations in the restored wetland were not significantly different than those in reference wetlands indicating that the Juniper Bay restoration was successfully sequestering C. Litter thickness may be a good indicator of restoration success. SOC levels may decrease compared to reference wetland values if pre-restoration soils were in agriculture.