Estimates of Carbon Reservoirs in High-Altitude Wetlands in the Colombian Andes

Enrique Javier Peña, Harrison Sandoval, Orlando Zuñiga, Alba Marina Torres


The observed increase in emission of greenhouse gases, with attendant effects on global warming, have raised interests in identifying sources and sinks of carbon in the environment. Terrestrial carbon (C) sequestration involves capture of atmospheric C through photosynthesis and storage in biota, soil and wetlands. Particularly, wetland systems function primarily as long-term reservoirs for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and as sources of atmospheric methane (CH4). The objective of this study was to evaluate the patterns of carbon reservoirs in two high-altitude wetlands in the central Andean mountain of Colombia. Carbon cycle in both systems is related mainly with the plant biomass dynamics from the littoral zone. Thus, total organic carbon concentrate an average up to 329 kg of N ha-1 and 125 kg of P ha-1 every year vs only 17 kg N ha-1 and 6 kg P ha-1 in the water column of the limnetic zone in the wetland, evidencing spatial differences in carbon concentrations for these types of ecosystems. Results revealed that these systems participate in the balance and sequestration of carbon in the Colombian Andes.


terrestrial carbon; atmospheric carbon dioxide; atmospheric methane; storage in biota

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