|The world's coastal mangrove forests are
capable of storing more carbon than almost any other forest on Earth, U.S.
government scientist say.
Researchers from the U.S. Forestry Service research
stations, along with scientists from the University of Helsinki in Finland
and the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, analyzed
the carbon content of 25 mangrove forests across the Indo-Pacific region
and found that mangrove forests store up to four times more carbon per
acre than most other tropical forests around the world, a USFS release
"Mangroves have long been known as extremely productive ecosystems that
cycle carbon quickly, but until now there had been no estimate of how much
carbon resides in these systems," Daniel Donato, a research ecologist at
the USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station in Hilo, Hawaii, said.
essential information because when land-use change occurs, much of that
standing carbon stock can be released to the atmosphere," he said.
The mangrove forest's ability to store
such large amounts of carbon can be attributed, in part, to the deep organic-rich
soils in which the trees thrive, researchers said, and in fact mangroves
have more carbon in their soil alone than most tropical forests have in
all their biomass and soil combined.
"When we did the math, we were surprised
to see just how much carbon is likely being released from mangrove clearing,"
Donato said, suggesting mangroves should be strong candidates for programs
aiming to mitigate climate change by reducing deforestation rates.