Carbon Sequestration of Dwarf Red Mangrove in The Bahamas
Chelsea R. Barreto, Pedram P. Daneshgar, and John A. Tiedemann
Abstract.—Mangrove ecosystems are being lost globally at an alarming rate due to deforestation, reclamation, and urbanization. Not only is the loss of these ecosystems detrimental to the commercially and ecologically important marine species they support, there is also a reduction in the ecosystem services they provide, namely mitigating rising carbon dioxide levels by serving as carbon sinks. These ecosystems, labeled as “blue carbon” sinks, potentially sequester more than 10 times the carbon that tropical and temperate ecosystems do. Thus, conservation and restoration of these blue carbon sinks is imperative. We explored how much carbon is currently stored in dwarf red mangrove Rhizophora mangle biomass in tidal creeks of Eleuthera, Bahamas. In October of 2012, four sites were selected near Cape Eleuthera, maximizing site variability. All sampling was done from six plots established at each site. The quantity of carbon stored in mangroves was determined from plant biomass, which was extrapolated from plant volumes. Mangrove volumes were determined from growth parameters of individuals. It was observed that there were large differences from site to site in number of individuals, sediment depth, biomass accumulation, and carbon allocation of mangroves, but the total amount of carbon stored from site to site in mangroves did not differ. The site with the greatest biomass and carbon storage also had the greatest sediment depth, suggesting a correlation between the two. Regardless of the site to site variability, mangroves proved to be good stores for carbon. Future work should search for the factors that explain site to site variability.