Recovering wetland biogeomorphic feedbacks to restore the world's biotic carbon hotspots

Ralph J M Temmink*, Leon P M Lamers, Christine Angelini, Tjeerd J Bouma, Christian Fritz, Johan van de Koppel, Robin Lexmond, Max Rietkerk, Brian R Silliman, Hans Joosten, Tjisse van der Heide*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


Biogeomorphic wetlands cover 1% of Earth's surface but store 20% of ecosystem organic carbon. This disproportional share is fueled by high carbon sequestration rates and effective storage in peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows, which greatly exceed those of oceanic and forest ecosystems. Here, we review how feedbacks between geomorphology and landscape-building vegetation underlie these qualities and how feedback disruption can switch wetlands from carbon sinks into sources. Currently, human activities are driving rapid declines in the area of major carbon-storing wetlands (1% annually). Our findings highlight the urgency to stop through conservation ongoing losses and to reestablish landscape-forming feedbacks through restoration innovations that recover the role of biogeomorphic wetlands as the world's biotic carbon hotspots.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220041
Number of pages10
Issue number6593
Publication statusPublished - 6-May-2022

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