Wetlands store carbon by having a slow decomposition rate.


"Wetlands annually store carbon at rates that can be 10-20 times faster than in terrestrial systems. These high rates are due to slower decomposition rates under anaerobic conditions and cooler temperatures in boreal and arctic regions where most wetlands are found (Fig. 1.8). As a consequence, today wetlands may contain as much as 40% of global soil carbon, most of it in peatlands and forested wetlands. Although they cover only 3% of the world's land area, peatlands alone may contain as much as 25% of the soil carbon pool. So much carbon is stored in northern peatlands that changes in the amount of carbon stored in peatlands have been hypothesized to be linked to global ice-age cycles (Frazen 1994). Although wetlands are an important sink for carbon, they are not expected to sequester much additional carbon as global CO2 levels increase. In other words, wetlands are not expected to ameliorate global climate change. In fact, the opposite is predicted." (van der Valk 2006:142-143)

The Biology of Freshwater Wetlands (Biology of Habitats)May 24, 2017
Arnold G. van der Valk