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Effect of restoration on saltmarsh carbon accumulation in eastern England

Burden, A.; Garbutt, A.; Evans, C.D.. 2019 Effect of restoration on saltmarsh carbon accumulation in eastern England. Biology Letters, 15 (1), 20180773. 4, pp. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0773

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Abstract/Summary

Wetland soils are globally important carbon stores, and natural wetlands provide a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through ongoing carbon accumulation. Recognition of coastal wetlands as a significant contributor to carbon storage (‘Blue Carbon’) has generated interest into the climate change mitigation benefits of restoring or recreating saltmarsh habitat. However the length of time a re-created marsh will take to become functionally equivalent to a natural (reference) system, or indeed whether reference conditions are attainable, is largely unknown. Here, we describe a combined field chronosequence and modelling study of saltmarsh carbon accumulation and provide empirically-based predictions of changes in carbon sequestration rate over time following saltmarsh restoration. Carbon accumulation was initially rapid (average 1.04 t C ha-1 yr-1 during the first 20 years), slowing to a steady rate of around 0.65 t C ha-1 yr-1 thereafter. The resulting increase in C stock gave an estimated total C accumulation of 74 t C ha-1 in the century following restoration. This is approximately the same as our observations of natural marsh C content (69 t C ha-1) suggesting that it takes approximately 100 years for restored saltmarsh to obtain the same carbon stock as natural sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0773
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1744-9561
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: carbon sequestration, managed realignment, blue carbon, coastal wetlands, climate change mitigation
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 26 Feb 2019 15:36 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/522292

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