Connecting Carbon and Nitrogen Storage in Rural Wetland Soil to Groundwater Abstraction for Urban Water Supply
cypress dome, florida, freshwater marsh, geographically isolated wetland, hydroperiod, organic matter, panicum hemitomon, swamp, taxodium ascendens, teleconnections
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
We investigated whether groundwater abstraction for urban water supply diminishes the storage of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and organic matter in the soil of rural wetlands. Wetland soil organic matter (SOM) benefits air and water quality by sequestering large masses of C and N. Yet, the accumulation of wetland SOM depends on soil inundation, so we hypothesized that groundwater abstraction would diminish stocks of SOM, C, and N in wetland soils. Predictions of this hypothesis were tested in two types of subtropical, depressional-basin wetland: forested swamps and herbaceous-vegetation marshes. In west-central Florida, > 650 ML groundwater day-1 are abstracted for use primarily in the Tampa Bay metropolis. At higher abstraction volumes, water tables were lower and wetlands had shorter hydroperiods (less time inundated). In turn, wetlands with shorter hydroperiods had 50-60% less SOM, C, and N per kg soil. In swamps, SOM loss caused soil bulk density to double, so areal soil C and N storage per m2 through 30.5 cm depth was diminished by 25-30% in short-hydroperiod swamps. In herbaceous-vegetation marshes, short hydroperiods caused a sharper decline in N than in C. Soil organic matter, C, and N pools were not correlated with soil texture or with wetland draining-reflooding frequency. Many years of shortened hydroperiod were probably required to diminish soil organic matter, C, and N pools by the magnitudes we observed. This diminution might have occurred decades ago, but could be maintained contemporarily by the failure each year of chronically drained soils to retain new organic matter inputs. In sum, our study attributes the contraction of hydroperiod and loss of soil organic matter, C, and N from rural wetlands to groundwater abstraction performed largely for urban water supply, revealing teleconnections between rural ecosystem change and urban resource demand.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Global Change Biology, v. 21, issue 4, p. 1704-1714
Scholar Commons Citation
Lewis, David B. and Feit, Sharon J., "Connecting Carbon and Nitrogen Storage in Rural Wetland Soil to Groundwater Abstraction for Urban Water Supply" (2015). Integrative Biology Faculty and Staff Publications. 325.