Wetland Ecology and Restoration Lab College of Forest RESOURCES and ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES-MICHIGAN tech

Welcome to the research page of Dr. Chimner and group. We focus on developing basic knowledge of wetlands and using that knowledge to understand how they will be affected by land use and climate change, improve management and conservation of wetlands, and restore disturbed wetlands. Please feel free to browse the project site to gain a better idea of the research currently being conducted. Please feel free to contact Dr. Chimner anytime to talk about opportunities.

Photos showing a mountain peatland restoration workshop in Colorado, a degraded "protected" wetland in Colorado, and peat coring in an Amazon peatland of Peru.

One focus area of our lab is to quantify carbon stocks and fluxes of carbon from a variety of peatland types. We are part of the SWAMP project and are quantifing peat stocks in the Great Lakes region and in the tropical Andes. We also collaborate with scientists who develop remote sensed-multi sensor peatland maps to document region carbon stocks. We also conduct ecosystem gas flux measurements to quantify background rates and changes from land use change.

Poor fen site in N. Michigan
Grazing in Peru mountain peatlands, degraded peat from overgrazing in Ecuador, and quantifying cattle impacts using gas flux measurements in Ecuador.
Peatland in the Andes

We have many projects developing restoration techniques for peatlands and wetlands. In addition to restoration activities, we also train NGO's, state and federal land managers, local governments and others on the implementation of these techniques. Our restoration research is currently occurring in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia.

Peatland restoration in Michigan, Ecuador and Colorado
Before and after a peatland ditch restoration in Northern Michigan.

Tropical peatlands store roughly 10% of the total carbon stored in peatlands. These large stores of carbon are currently at greater risk than peatlands located in temperate and boreal areas with low population density, because they are often situated in areas with high population densities. With high population growth in many tropical countries, tropical peatlands are facing increased rates of alteration and destruction from fire, agriculture, mining and hydrological diversions. Dispite the rapid degradation, methods of restoring tropical peatlands is minimal.

Indonesian Peatland
Tropical peatlands in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.
Mapping peatlands in Peru

Peatlands are common in most mountain ranges in the world. Mountain peatlands are important for regional water supply, carbon storage and for habitat. However, many have been altered by disturbances, including ditching, overgrazing, erosion, mining, and road crossings and many require restoration.

Pristine and degraded peatlands in Colorado
Cedar swamp

Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) swamps are an important ecosystem in the Upper Great Lakes region for timber, as a winter habitat for wildlife, and as a home to many rare species of plants and animals. However, northern white-cedar forested wetlands are declining in area from forestry activities and development, with mitigation efforts often failing to reproduce these ecosystems. Our research aims to understand the ecology and restoration of these magnificant peatlands.

Cedar swamps in Michigan


We understand that science does not happen in a vacuum, but is the result of many dedicated people.

  • Rod A Chimner, Professor

Current Students and Post-Docs

  • Dominic Uhelski, MS
  • Michelle Cisz, PhD
  • Sean Westley, PhD
  • Angela Lafuente, PostDoc

Former Students

  • Katy Marlor, MS (2009)
  • Drew Ballantyne, MS (2010)
  • Chris Johnson, MS (2011)
  • Arvo Aljaste, MS (2011)
  • Laura Kangas, MS (2012)
  • John Hriblan, PHD (2012)
  • Rocio Vazquez, MS (2012)
  • Cassandra Ott, MS (2013)
  • Laura Matkala, MS (2013)
  • Vaula Lukkarinen, MS (2015)
  • Andrea Enriquez, PhD (2015)
  • James Bess, PhD (2015)
  • Anwar Guswarni, PhD (2016)
  • Rose Schwartz, MS (2016)
  • María Elisa Sánchez, MS (2017)
  • Jhon del Aguila Pasquel, MS (2017)
  • Ana Maria Planas, MS (2018)
Created By
Rod Chimner