Terrestrial organic carbon (C) entering lakes can be stored, sent to the atmosphere as CO2, or passed downstream. Long term measurements of hydrology and C were used to understand and model the fate of terrestrial C in lakes. In Wisconsin’s 6,400 km2 Northern Highland Lake District (NHLD), the fraction of organic C converted to CO2 varied substantially among lakes due to hydrology. Nonetheless, lakes accounted for about 40% of C storage, although they represent only 13% of the region’s area.
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