Coastal wetland ecosystems deliver large carbon stocks in tropical Mexico

Sjögersten, Sofie; de la Barreda-Bautista, Betsabe; Brown, Chloe; Boyd, Doreen; Lopez-Rosas, Hugo; Hernández, Elizabeth; Monroy, Roberto; Rincón, Matilde; Vane, Christopher ORCID:; Moss-Hayes, Vicky; Gallardo-Cruz, José Alberto; Infante-Mata, Dulce; Hoyos-Santillan, Jorge; Vidal Solórzano, Jonathan; Peralta-Carreta, Candelario; Moreno-Casasola, Patricia. 2021 Coastal wetland ecosystems deliver large carbon stocks in tropical Mexico. Geoderma, 403, 115173.

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Tropical wetlands are important in the global carbon (C) cycle and climate system. To elaborate government policies that protect wetland ecosystem services, spatially explicit data on the existing C stocks are needed. This study quantified above and below ground C stocks in mangrove, swamp forests, marshes, and grazed wetlands in three different regions in Mexico (Veracruz, Tabasco/Campeche, and Chiapas states), using a combination of remote sensing techniques and field data collection. We report a 0.688 Gt C stock in the areas investigated showing that these wetlands hold important C stocks. The total C stock of Mexico’s wetlands is expected to be considerably larger as our study is not a complete survey of Mexico’s total wetland area. Across the three regions, the currently unprotected swamp forests and marshes had substantial peat deposits storing ≈ 0.232 and 0.375 Pg C, respectively. The high C stocks found in swamp forests (1801 ± 283 Mg C ha−1) and marshes (1100 ± 376 Mg C ha−1) are likely to be vulnerable to human interventions such as drainage. Flooded grasslands, used for grazing, had substantially lower C storage (271 ± 122 Mg C ha−1), showing that grazed areas are less effective as C stores. Across sites the belowground C pool that was two orders of magnitude greater than the aboveground biomass C stocks. Carbon storage in wetland vegetation types differed among the three study regions, indicating the need for developing government policies considering a specific regional approach to protect the C stocks of coastal wetlands. Given that freshwater swamps had the greatest C stocks and freshwater marshes stored most C, these wetland peat deposits should be prioritized for conservation, via new legislation or inclusion in payment for ecosystem services schemes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00167061
Date made live: 26 May 2021 13:48 +0 (UTC)

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