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Title: Accuracy and precision of tidal wetland soil carbon mapping in the conterminous United States
Authors: Horton, Benjamin Peter
MacDonald, Glen M.
Moyer, Ryan P.
Reay, William
Shaw, Timothy
Smith, Erik
Smoak, Joseph M.
Sommerfield, Christopher
Thorne, Karen
Velinsky, David
Holmquist, James R.
Windham-Myers, Lisamarie
Bliss, Norman
Crooks, Stephen
Morris, James T.
Megonigal, J. Patrick
Troxler, Tiffany
Weller, Donald
Callaway, John
Drexler, Judith
Ferner, Matthew C.
Gonneea, Meagan E.
Kroeger, Kevin D.
Schile-Beers, Lisa
Woo, Isa
Buffington, Kevin
Breithaupt, Joshua
Boyd, Brandon M.
Brown, Lauren N.
Dix, Nicole
Hice, Lyndie
Watson, Elizabeth
Grimes, Kristin Wilson
Woodrey, Mark
Keywords: Soil Carbon Mapping
Tidal Wetland
DRNTU::Social sciences::Geography
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Holmquist, J. R., Windham-Myers, L., Bliss, N., Crooks, S., Morris, J. T., Megonigal, J. P., . . . Woodrey, M. (2018). Accuracy and precision of tidal wetland soil carbon mapping in the conterminous United States. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 9478-. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26948-7
Series/Report no.: Scientific Reports
Abstract: Tidal wetlands produce long-term soil organic carbon (C) stocks. Thus for carbon accounting purposes, we need accurate and precise information on the magnitude and spatial distribution of those stocks. We assembled and analyzed an unprecedented soil core dataset, and tested three strategies for mapping carbon stocks: applying the average value from the synthesis to mapped tidal wetlands, applying models fit using empirical data and applied using soil, vegetation and salinity maps, and relying on independently generated soil carbon maps. Soil carbon stocks were far lower on average and varied less spatially and with depth than stocks calculated from available soils maps. Further, variation in carbon density was not well-predicted based on climate, salinity, vegetation, or soil classes. Instead, the assembled dataset showed that carbon density across the conterminous united states (CONUS) was normally distributed, with a predictable range of observations. We identified the simplest strategy, applying mean carbon density (27.0 kg C m−3), as the best performing strategy, and conservatively estimated that the top meter of CONUS tidal wetland soil contains 0.72 petagrams C. This strategy could provide standardization in CONUS tidal carbon accounting until such a time as modeling and mapping advancements can quantitatively improve accuracy and precision.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-26948-7
Schools: Asian School of the Environment 
Research Centres: Earth Observatory of Singapore 
Rights: © 2018 The Author(s) (Nature Publishing Group). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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