Biomass and carbon storage in a continental wetland in Cuitzeo, Michoacán, Mexico.
Wetlands provide multiple ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration both in living biomass and in the soil. In México, most studies have been done in coastal wetlands, mainly mangroves, and for this reason information on continental wetlands is scarce. Two research questions were answered: how much carbon is stored in the biomass and in the soil of a continental wetland; and which is the spatial structure and distribution of the dominant plant species. The study site is a floating wetland in the eastern part of lake Cuitzeo where field work was carried out during 2017 and 2018. Following a transect, six points were selected and aerial biomass was harvested in one-square-meter plots and a soil profile was excavated. Carbon content was analyzed from samples of the dominant species and apparent density and carbon stored in the soil was determined. Satellite imagery was analyzed to obtain the total area of the wetland during the period 2003-2017 and the area damaged by fires was calculated. Aerial biomass of the dominant species ranged from 5 770 kg/m2 to 2 495 kg/m2. The substrate contains 92 617 tons of carbon. The cover of invasive species Phragmites australis increased by 10% with respect to the total wetland area from 2010 to 2017. Two major fires were detected, the largest in 2016 that covered 242 ha of the total of 535 ha.