Forms, amounts, and accumulation of soil phosphorus (P) were measured in natural and recently restored marshes surrounding Upper Klamath Lake located in south-central Oregon, USA to determine rates of P accumulation in natural marshes and to assess changes in P pools caused by long-term drainage in recently restored marshes. Soil cores were collected from three natural marshes and radiometrically dated to determine recent (137Cs-based) and long-term (210Pb-based) rates of peat accretion and P accumulation. A second set of soil cores collected from the three natural marshes and from three recently restored marshes was analyzed using a modification of the Hedley procedure to determine the forms and amounts of soil P. Total P in the recently restored marshes (222 to 311 μg cm−3) was 2–3 times greater than in the natural marshes (103 to 117 μg cm−3), primarily due to greater bulk density caused by soil subsidence, a consequence of long-term marsh drainage. Occluded Fe- and Al-bound Pi, calcium-bound Pi and residual P were 4 times, 22 times, and 5 times greater, respectively, in the recently restored marshes. More than 67% of the P pool in both the natural and recently restored marshes was present in recalcitrant forms (humic-acid Po and residual P) that provide long-term P storage in peat. Phosphorus accumulation in the natural marshes averaged 0.45 g m−2 yr−1 (137Cs) and 0.40 g m−2 yr−1 (210Pb), providing a benchmark for optimizing P sequestration in the recently restored marshes. Effective P sequestration in the recently restored marshes, however, will depend on re-establishing equilibrium between the P-enriched soils and the P concentration of floodwaters and a hydrologic regime similar to the natural marshes.
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Vol. 25 • No. 3