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Title:Tradeoffs among ecosystem services in restored wetlands
Author(s):Jessop, Jordan
Advisor(s):Matthews, Jeffrey W.
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):ecosystem services
wetland ecology
restoration ecology
wetland restoration
Abstract:Recently restoration ecology and land management have found new focus and direction by emphasizing the value of ecosystem services to society. Resource management decisions frequently involve choices that reflect tradeoffs among ecosystem services. Tradeoffs occur when one service changes at the expense of another. These tradeoffs are not always explicit, and can exist without our knowledge. As a consequence, land managers may make decisions that diminish the value of some services while enhancing the value of others. Wetlands provide many ecosystem services, such as water quality maintenance, carbon storage, flood water abatement, and biodiversity support. Current compensatory wetland mitigation policy relies on the assumption that wetlands can be restored to provide a full suite of services. The goal of this study was to determine what tradeoffs exist among ecosystem services in restored wetlands, and identify the abiotic and biotic drivers underlying these tradeoffs. Thirty compensatory mitigation wetlands from across Illinois were included in this study. We measured denitrification potential, soil organic matter decomposition, aboveground herbaceous biomass, and soil organic content as proxies for nutrient-storage and removal services. Additionally, flood water storage potential was calculated using detailed LiDAR and topographic data. Since wetlands provide valuable biodiversity support, we determined plant, anuran, and avian diversity for each site. We found a clear tradeoff between biodiversity support and nutrient-cycling processes. Additionally, we found a positive relationship among the biodiversity indicators, as well as positive relationship between denitrification potential and flood water storage potential. Our findings indicate that designing wetlands to maximize nutrient storage and removal may likely come at the expense of biodiversity. Restoration policy makers and practitioners should consider these tradeoffs when planning wetland restoration and conservation at a watershed or landscape scale. Given these tradeoffs, it is unrealistic to expect all services to be maximized; therefore, restoration practitioners should prioritize services depending upon local site and watershed context.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Jordan Jessop
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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