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Seventy years of continuous encroachment substantially increases 'blue carbon' capacity as mangroves replace intertidal salt marshes

Kelleway, Jeffrey J., Saintilan, Neil, Macreadie, Peter I., Skilbeck, Charles G., Zawadzki, Atun and Ralph, Peter J. 2016, Seventy years of continuous encroachment substantially increases 'blue carbon' capacity as mangroves replace intertidal salt marshes, Global change biology, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 1097-1109, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13158.

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Title Seventy years of continuous encroachment substantially increases 'blue carbon' capacity as mangroves replace intertidal salt marshes
Author(s) Kelleway, Jeffrey J.
Saintilan, Neil
Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I. orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-0882
Skilbeck, Charles G.
Zawadzki, Atun
Ralph, Peter J.
Journal name Global change biology
Volume number 22
Issue number 3
Start page 1097
End page 1109
Total pages 13
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 1365-2486
1365-2486
Keyword(s) biomass
blue carbon
carbon sequestration
climate change
ecosystem services
mangrove
mangrove encroachment
salt marsh
saltmarsh
sea level rise
Summary Shifts in ecosystem structure have been observed over recent decades as woody plants encroach upon grasslands and wetlands globally. The migration of mangrove forests into salt marsh ecosystems is one such shift which could have important implications for global 'blue carbon' stocks. To date, attempts to quantify changes in ecosystem function are essentially constrained to climate-mediated pulses (30 years or less) of encroachment occurring at the thermal limits of mangroves. In this study, we track the continuous, lateral encroachment of mangroves into two south-eastern Australian salt marshes over a period of 70 years and quantify corresponding changes in biomass and belowground C stores. Substantial increases in biomass and belowground C stores have resulted as mangroves replaced salt marsh at both marine and estuarine sites. After 30 years, aboveground biomass was significantly higher than salt marsh, with biomass continuing to increase with mangrove age. Biomass increased at the mesohaline river site by 130 ± 18 Mg biomass km-2 yr-1 (mean ± SE), a 2.5 times higher rate than the marine embayment site (52 ± 10 Mg biomass km-2 yr-1), suggesting local constraints on biomass production. At both sites, and across all vegetation categories, belowground C considerably outweighed aboveground biomass stocks, with belowground C stocks increasing at up to 230 ± 62 Mg C km-2 yr-1 (± SE) as mangrove forests developed. Over the past 70 years, we estimate mangrove encroachment may have already enhanced intertidal biomass by up to 283 097 Mg and belowground C stocks by over 500 000 Mg in the state of New South Wales alone. Under changing climatic conditions and rising sea levels, global blue carbon storage may be enhanced as mangrove encroachment becomes more widespread, thereby countering global warming.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/gcb.13158
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
06 Biological Sciences
05 Environmental Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID DE130101084
Copyright notice ©2016, Wiley
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30080774

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