Remote Sensing Wetland Research at UW

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Teal Carbon –Stakeholder-driven Monitoring of Forested Wetland Carbon

Terrestrial wetlands are the largest reservoir of carbon in North America, with roughly half of wetland area occurring in forested systems. Wetlands, defined here as areas saturated at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated conditions, usually contain more carbon in their soils than upland areas due to prolonged periods of soil saturation. While forested wetlands are important long-term carbon sinks and important in global carbon accounting, they have received relatively little research attention and are, therefore, a significant source of uncertainty in carbon inventories and monitoring systems. The overarching goal of this proposed study is to develop and implement a remote sensing driven, spatiotemporally explicit approach to monitoring total carbon stocks of forested wetlands. Thus, we propose to develop and demonstrate to our stakeholders a rigorous approach for detecting and assessing carbon stocks in forested wetlands and understanding the effects of disturbances and recovery on these stocks. This will improve understanding of differences in carbon storage between forested wetlands and uplands with similar aboveground carbon stocks, across a range of hydrodynamics and moisture regimes, and under pressure from a range of disturbances. Our multiple objectives aim to demonstrate and deploy a novel and accurate way of mapping of forested wetlands and the above- and below-ground carbon stocks associated with these wetlands. The results of this study will not only immediately inform our stakeholders, including about on-the-ground forest practices of state lands and adaptive management regulations of state forest practices, it also serves as one of few large-scale studies to quantify forest wetland carbon stocks – including belowground storage of carbon in wetland soils as well as the impacts of forestry practices on carbon sources and sinks that will improve regional and global carbon monitoring systems (CMS) and accounting.