Everglades restoration could decrease carbon sink potential



Starting more than a century ago and ramping up to a massive scale in the 1950s, canal building and drainage projects in the Florida Everglades steadily degraded the sprawling wetland ecosystem. In the coming years, a massive 30-year multibillion-dollar restoration program is set to naturalize the Florida Everglades, returning the drained land to a closer approximation of its original structure. Restoring the Everglades, however, will have consequent effects on wetland dynamics, as plants and soil processes adjust to the changing water levels. Using eddy covariance measurements of surface-atmosphere gas exchange, Jimenez et al. tracked the roles of two different types of Everglades wetlands in the regional carbon cycle. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that, contrary to previous research, restoring the Everglades will likely diminish the potential of the region to serve as a carbon sink.