We evaluated the potential of prairie wetlands in North America as carbon sinks. Agricultural conversion has resulted in the average loss of 10.1 Mg ha(-1) of soil organic carbon on over 16 million ha of wetlands in this region. Wetland restoration has potential to sequester 378 Tg of organic carbon over a 10-year period. Wetlands can sequester over twice the organic carbon as no-till cropland on only about 17% of the total land area in the region. We estimate that wetland restoration has potential to offset 2.4% of the annual fossil CO(2) emission reported for North America in 1990.