1 Tahrcountry Musings: Mangrove forests and carbon sequestration

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mangrove forests and carbon sequestration

According to a new study published on April 3, in Nature Geoscience, mangroves store exceptionally more carbon than most tropical forests. The flip side is that Mangroves are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Mangrove forests have declined by as much as 50% over the past half century.
According to the researchers even though mangroves occupy less than 1% of tropical forest area, they store up to 10% of global carbon emissions. Till now the amount of carbon in mangroves has been largely ignored.
To estimate the abundance of carbon in mangroves, lead investigator J. Boone Kauffman, an ecologist at the Northern Research Station of the US Forest Service in Durham, New Hampshire, and his team sampled 25 mangrove sites across the world that covered about 40% of the global area covered by these forests. They found that these forests hold much more carbon than boreal, temperate or tropical upland forests. The carbon was stored mainly in an organic-rich 'muck layer' of soil more than 30 centimeters below the surface. The researchers assess that worldwide carbon reserves in mangrove forests may be as high as 25% of those in tropical peatlands. The researchers sound the warning that destroying mangrove forests could have far reaching deleterious effects.
The paper gives a germane justification for preserving mangrove forests. It is also a wakeup call.

Mangroves among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics

Nature Geoscience (2011) doi: 10.1038/ngeo1123

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