The United States’ national wildlife refuge system: a natural laboratory for studying peatland carbon storage, ecosystem services, and impacts of management

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Kurt A. Johnson and John Schmerfeld
Book (published in): 
Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress
National Wildlife Refuge; carbon; peat; peatlands; blue carbon



The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS; an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior), consists of over 560 national wildlife refuges (refuge or NWR) and 38 wetland management districts (WMDs) throughout the United States of America (USA) and its territories. Refuges and WMDs protect a wide variety of wetland habitats that are peat-forming, from pocosin wetlands in North Carolina to extensive peat bog systems in Alaska. In addition, the NWRS has over 180 coastal refuges, many of which sequester carbon underground in “blue-carbon” ecosystems—mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes...