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Soil Organic Matter of Natural and Restored Coastal Wetland Soils in Southern California

  • Author(s): Elgin, Barbara K.
  • Advisor(s): Ambrose, Richard F
  • et al.
Abstract

Tidal wetlands are able to sequester large amounts of organic carbon due to their high primary productivity, slow decomposition and sediment accretion. We measured soil organic matter in high resolution soil cores from three Salicornia-dominated coastal salt marshes in a Mediterranean-type climate. Our data for all three natural wetlands show high organic matter in the top 10 cm, averaging 14.8 ± 0.9%, with the top 2 cm of soil having the highest organic matter content at all sites. High organic matter in the surface soil decreased and then stabilized with depth. Restored habitats within each of these three wetlands were also sampled. Average percent organic matter in the top 10 cm across restored sites was 8.6 ± 1.1 %. Percent organic matter was negatively correlated with bulk density and grain size across all samples. We estimated soil organic carbon using our soil organic matter data and compared natural and restored sites. Soil organic carbon densities were statistically different between natural and restored sampling sites in all but one wetland.

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