CIE Spotlight: Global patterns in mangrove soil carbon stocks and losses

Paul C., Carolyn E. and Peter M.

Authors: Trisha B. Atwood, Rod M. Connolly, Hanan Almahasheer, Paul E. Carnell, Carlos M. Duarte, Carolyn J. Ewers Lewis, Xabier Irigoien, Jeffrey J. Kelleway, Paul S. Lavery, Peter I. Macreadie, Oscar Serrano, Christian J. Sanders, Isaac Santos, Andrew D. L. Steven & Catherine E. Lovelock

Source: Nature Climate Change 7, 523–528 (Published online 26 June 2017)

Brief summary of the paper: Mangrove soils represent a large sink for otherwise rapidly recycled carbon (C). However, widespread deforestation threatens the preservation of this important C stock. It is therefore imperative that global patterns in mangrove soil C stocks and their susceptibility to remineralization are understood.

Here, we present patterns in mangrove soil C stocks across hemispheres, latitudes, countries and mangrove community compositions, and estimate potential annual CO2 emissions for countries where mangroves occur. Global potential CO2 emissions from soils as a result of mangrove loss were estimated to be ~7.0TgCO2eyr−1. Countries with the highest potential CO2 emissions from soils are Indonesia (3,410GgCO2eyr−1) and Malaysia (1,288GgCO2eyr−1).

The patterns described serve as a baseline by which countries can assess their mangrove soil C stocks and potential emissions from mangrove deforestation.