The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Managing rain-filled wetlands for carbon sequestration: a synthesis

Susanne C. Watkins A E , Darren S. Baldwin B C , Helen P. Waudby C D and Sarah E. M. A. Ning A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd, PO Box 7016, East Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

B CSIRO Land and Water and Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre, La Trobe University, PO Box 821, Wodonga, Vic. 3689, Australia.

C Present address: Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona, NSW 2640, Australia.

D Murray Local Land Services, PO Box 797, North Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: s.watkins7@bigpond.com

The Rangeland Journal 39(2) 145-152 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ16077
Submitted: 8 August 2016  Accepted: 20 January 2017   Published: 23 February 2017

Abstract

Global acknowledgement of climate change and its predicted environmental consequences has created a need for practical management techniques that increase a landscape’s ability to capture and store atmospheric carbon (C). Globally, wetlands sequester disproportionally more C per unit surface area than many other components of the landscape. However, wetlands vary in their capacity to store C and regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrology, in particular, is a critical driver of wetland C capture and storage. Rain-filled wetlands offer a challenge for the management of C sequestration and storage because the hydrology of these systems is almost entirely driven by rainfall. We present a conceptual model of how management options, including weed and pest control, grazing and crop management and revegetation, will affect C sequestration and storage in rain-filled wetlands. Given the intensive nature of agricultural activities in areas where rain-filled wetlands are common, further work is needed to increase our understanding of the effects of these activities on wetland C capture and storage. Key knowledge gaps relating to the effect of management actions on wetland C sequestration include: (a) the benefits of integrated wetland management; (b) the appropriateness of different grazing regimes and the effect of total grazing pressure; (c) the effects of fire; and (d) the extent to which wetland function (C storage) can be restored following agricultural activities, such as cropping.

Additional keywords: cropping, fire, grazing, pests, weeds, wetland rehabilitation.


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