finding 13.1 : key-message-13-1

The assessment of terrestrial wetland carbon stocks has improved greatly since the First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (CCSP 2007) because of recent national inventories and the development of a U.S. soils database. Terrestrial wetlands in North America encompass an estimated 2.2 million km2, which constitutes about 37% of the global wetland area, with a soil and vegetation carbon pool of about 161 petagrams of carbon that represents approximately 36% of global wetland carbon stock. Forested wetlands compose 55% of the total terrestrial wetland area, with the vast majority occurring in Canada. Organic soil wetlands or peatlands contain 58% of the total terrestrial wetland area and 80% of the carbon (high confidence, likely).

This finding is from chapter 13 of Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report.

Description of evidence base: Key Finding 1 is supported by an extensive analysis of the most current wetland soil and vegetation information available across the conterminous United States (CONUS), Alaska, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, updating previous estimates made in SOCCR1 (see SOCCR2 Appendices 13A and 13B).

New information and remaining uncertainties: Uncertainties are high where wetlands are present but not extensively mapped, such as in Alaska.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Over much of the area under consideration, confidence is high that this assessment has accurately mapped carbon pools in mineral soil wetlands and peatlands.

This finding was derived from figure P.2: P.2. Likelihood and Confidence Evaluation

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