Even Small Changes in Water Tables Could Lead to Big Changes in Wetlands

 

CypressSome wetlands could be much drier by the end of the 21st century, according to a recently published study involving Center scientists. Center research hydrologist Ge Sun and research colleagues used long-term hydrologic and meteorological data from five forested wetland study sites in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida to build models that incorporated projections of rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns. “Our primary goal was to understand how water tables in these study sites will respond to climate change,” says Sun. The models indicated that water tables could recede by a few to several inches and lead to drier wetlands—even where changes in water tables seem relatively small—with implications for wildland fire risk, exotic plant invasions, and ecosystem services such as water filtration, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat. Read more in CompassLive…

Pictured: A cypress wetland in Florida was among the five study sites, which are all predicted to become drier by 2100. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

 

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