Land Management, Carbon Cycling, and Microbial Dynamics in Pacific Northwest Wetlands
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Wetland ecosystems are key players in the global carbon cycle. Understanding the effects of land management, degradation and restoration, on these systems is critical to developing efficient and effective land management practices. Monitoring should be extended to ecosystem functions in order to determine if mitigation results in a no-net loss of wetland function. Our specific objective was to explore microbial function as a mechanism behind the shift in carbon cycling after land management treatment We sampled two marsh case studies, a saltmarsh freshwater complex, each with a reference, restored, and disturbed site, along the Oregon coast We calculated soil carbon stocks, and measured CO2 and CH4 production. Microbial function was measured by performing an extracellular enzyme assay and a catabolic profile. Our results suggest that restoration in each case study achieved only partial return of soil carbon function, but the freshwater restoration was closer to the reference condition. These findings reflect that the freshwater restoration hydrology and plant community more closely matched the reference condition than in the salt marsh restoration.