Sedimentary factors are key predictors of carbon storage in SE Australian saltmarshes

Kelleway, Jeffrey J., Saintilan, Neil, Macreadie, Peter I. and Ralph, Peter J. 2016, Sedimentary factors are key predictors of carbon storage in SE Australian saltmarshes, Ecosystems, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 865-880, doi: 10.1007/s10021-016-9972-3.

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Title Sedimentary factors are key predictors of carbon storage in SE Australian saltmarshes
Author(s) Kelleway, Jeffrey J.
Saintilan, Neil
Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I.
Ralph, Peter J.
Journal name Ecosystems
Volume number 19
Issue number 5
Start page 865
End page 880
Total pages 16
Publisher Springer
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 1435-0629
Keyword(s) carbon sequestration
blue carbon
spatial variability
geomorphic setting
ecosystem services
tidal marshes
Summary Although coastal vegetated ecosystems are widely recognised as important sites of long-term carbon (C) storage, substantial spatial variability exists in quantifications of these ‘blue C’ stocks. To better understand the factors behind this variability we investigate the relative importance of geomorphic and vegetation attributes to variability in the belowground C stocks of saltmarshes in New South Wales (NSW), southeast Australia. Based on the analysis of over 140 sediment cores, we report mean C stocks in the surface metre of sediments (mean ± SE = 164.45 ± 8.74 Mg C ha−1) comparable to global datasets. Depth-integrated stocks (0–100 cm) were more than two times higher in fluvial (226.09 ± 12.37 Mg C ha−1) relative to marine (104.54 ± 7.11) geomorphic sites, but did not vary overall between rush and non-rush vegetation structures. More specifically, sediment grain size was a key predictor of C density, which we attribute to the enhanced C preservation capacity of fine sediments and/or the input of stable allochthonous C to predominantly fine-grained, fluvial sites. Although C density decreased significantly with sediment depth in both geomorphic settings, the importance of deep C varied substantially between study sites. Despite modest spatial coverage, NSW saltmarshes currently hold approximately 1.2 million tonnes of C in the surface metre of sediment, although more C may have been returned to the atmosphere through habitat loss over the past approximately 200 years. Our findings highlight the suitability of using sedimentary classification to predict blue C hotspots for targeted conservation and management activities to reverse this trend.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10021-016-9972-3
Field of Research 050102 Ecosystem Function
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer
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