Wetland restoration may be falling short of its goals, with restored or created wetlands lagging behind reference ones in terms of carbon storage and native species richness and abundance.

In many parts of the world, humans have destroyed more than half of the wetlands and efforts to restore them (pictured) stretch back 60 years. David Moreno-Mateos at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues analysed 621 restored or created wetlands. They found that carbon storage in such wetlands was just half that of reference wetlands even two decades after restoration. Moreover, restored and created wetlands showed only a 74% recovery in a measure of 'biological structure' that combined several measures of the number and richness of native species.


PLoS Biol. 10, e1001247 (2012)