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MIT Sea Grant Informs and Improves 600-acre Coastal Wetland Restoration

MIT Sea Grant collaborated with local, state and federal partners to restore 600 acres of coastal wetlands. Working in partnership with the EPA, MIT Sea Grant is monitoring carbon storage and greenhouse gas emissions at the site to gain a better understanding of the effects of converting cranberry bogs on carbon cycling in restored coastal wetlands. A stratified random sampling design was used to sample carbon content of soils and emissions using portable gas analyzers and chambers. Gas emissions were sampled in light and dark conditions to account for the presence and absence of plant respiration, allowing for analysis of microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and effects on carbon storage capacity. The restored site was paired with natural reference sites to assess carbon cycling trajectories over time relative to natural conditions. Data collected by this study is helping resource managers and conservation organizations better understand the effects of coastal habitat restoration on carbon cycling and ecosystem services, which is important for coastal resilience planning and management.

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