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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Ecosystem-level Changes in Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) Wetlands in West-Central, New York

This poster outlines a study of ecosystem- and community-level characteristics of wetlands in upstate New York that were farmed and subsequently restored as part of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP; a voluntary USDA program that provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners who wish to convert marginal agricultural land back to wetland habitat). The study objective was to determine if these restored wetlands are developing features and performing important carbon storage functions typical of natural wetlands. During summer 2010, 21 wetlands in west-central New York were sampled to assess the effect of age (time since restoration) and land-use history (till or no-till agriculture) on several plant and soil variables. Four wetlands were undisturbed reference sites, and 17 were WRP restoration sites. The WRP wetlands ranged in age at the time of sampling from 1 month to 16 years old. At each wetland, soil and plant samples were taken from within nine, spatially-explicit plots and from nearby agricultural fields. By (1) comparing WRP wetlands to active agricultural fields and natural wetlands, and (2) analyzing temporal changes in soil and plant variables, it has determined that many ecological variables including soil carbon storage do not gradually become more comparable to natural wetlands. Furthermore, many physical and biological parameters seem to vary significantly within the restoration areas, suggesting that WRP restorations have different outcomes and support non-wetland habitat. It has been concluded that current ecological conditions of WRP wetlands are in partial conflict with WRP goals.

Presenter: Jordan Brown (State University of New York College at Brockport) -- jbrow7@brockport.edu
Topic: Math and Sciences - Poster Session
Location: Edwards Hall Lobby
Time: 9 am (Session I)