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Eastern Geographic Science Center

Description of Current Projects

Ecosystem Service Assessment in Support of Land Management at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Principal Investigator: Dianna Hogan, U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center

The Science Issue and Relevance
This collaborative research project ( assesses ecosystem services and estimates carbon balance in relation to water management and other restoration actions at the Great Dismal Swamp (GDS) National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Extensive ditch networks drain or otherwise affect the water regimes of the native vegetation communities required to support ecosystem services of interest. Hydrologic manipulation to manage soil water saturation is a primary action being taken by the FWS for restoration of the wetland ecosystems and may improve carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services. The ability for public lands such as this to maximize the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration is a focus of this project.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue
The objectives of this project are to: (1) characterize potential carbon sequestration in representative vegetation communities via gaseous and water based carbon fluxes and by estimating carbon storage in biomass and soil pools; (2) estimate the effects of refuge hydrologic management and restoration on carbon sequestration, fire management, and establishing selected types of resilient vegetation communities; and (3) provide an assessment and valuation of selected ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, wildlife viewing (biodiversity, recreation), nutrient cycling, flood protection, and fire mitigation.

Future Steps
This study will inform how hydrologic management affects carbon storage in peatlands (important global carbon sink) and what approaches may be used to restore selected vegetation community habitats and improve ecosystem services including carbon sequestration.

Key Words: carbon, climate change, carbon model

Contact Information:
Dianna Hogan

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