Magazine article American Forests

Mangroves Provide Critical Carbon Storage

Magazine article American Forests

Mangroves Provide Critical Carbon Storage

Article excerpt

Now studies reveal that the world's coastal mangrove forests are more beneficial than originally thought. These unique ecosystems are capable of storing four times more carbon per acre than nearly any other tropical forest on Earth and may even be able to protect island coasts from earthquake damage.

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Researchers from the U.S. Forest Service teamed up with scientists from the University of Helsinki and the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia to analyze the carbon content of 25 mangrove forests across the Indo-Pacific region.

Mangroves have tong been known to cycle carbon quickly, but the new findings revealed just how much carbon is actually stored in these unique ecosystem that merge saltwater with fresh.

The researchers believe that mangrove forests are able to store such large amounts of carbon partly because of the deep, organicrich soils where the trees thrive. In fact, they found that mangroves have more carbon in their soil atone than most tropical forests have in their entire ecosystems. The complex root systems of mangrove forests reduce incoming tidal waters, allowing organic and inorganic material to set-lie into the sediment surface. The decay rate of these material is decreased due to the tow oxygen conditions, which in turn allow the carbon to collect in the soil.

The mangrove forest's ability to store such large amounts of carbon suggests that it may play a key role in climate change management. …

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