Dr. Dale W. Daniel, an Associate Professional with SCS’s Oklahoma City office, recently published a summary article of his dissertation research through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project. The primary goal of the research was to provide under-standing of the potential climate mitigation services provided through wetland conservation and restoration in the High Plains region of the United States. Focus was placed on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from wetlands and adjacent upland landscapes as well as identifying some of the drivers of GHG flux that are influenced by various land management practices. The project also sought to understand how sediment removal from wetland basins influenced Carbon and Nitrogen content as well as Carbon sequestration services.
In 2007, the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) stated that global climate change is a real and immediate threat that requires action, and ecological restoration is one of the many tools that can help mitigate that change (SER 2007). However, recent debate within the conservation science community has arisen concerning whether restoring ecosystems for C offset projects may shift focus away from other important benefits to society (Emmett-Mattox et al. 2010). Indeed, not all ecosystem restorations make viable ecological offset projects for industries seeking to reduce their C emissions, and those that do, may not always occur in areas where restoration funding is needed the most. This study demonstrated that management practices focused on restoring natural landscape functions, including native species plantings and basin sediment removal, can increase climate mitigation services provided by wetland and upland ecosystems within a region heavily impacted by land use change.