Current and future carbon stocks in coastal wetlands within the Great Barrier Reef catchments

Duarte de Paula Costa, Micheli, Lovelock, Catherine E., Waltham, Nathan J., Young, Mary, Adame, Maria F., Bryant, Catherine V., Butler, Don, Green, David, Rasheed, Michael A., Salinas, Cristian, Serrano, Oscar, York, Paul H., Whitt, Ashley A., and Macreadie, Peter I. (2021) Current and future carbon stocks in coastal wetlands within the Great Barrier Reef catchments. Global Change Biology, 27 (14). pp. 3257-3271.

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Abstract

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments include some of the world’s most intact coastal wetlands comprising diverse mangrove, seagrass and tidal marsh ecosystems. Although these ecosystems are highly efficient at storing carbon in marine sediments, their soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and the potential changes resulting from climate impacts including sea level rise are not well understood. For the first time, we estimated SOC stocks and their drivers within the range of coastal wetlands of GBR catchments using boosted regression trees (i.e., a machine learning approach and ensemble method for modelling the relationship between response and explanatory variables) and identified the potential changes in future stocks due to sea level rise. We found levels of SOC stocks of mangrove and seagrass meadows have different drivers, with climatic variables such as temperature, rainfall, and solar radiation, showing significant contributions in accounting for variation in SOC stocks in mangroves. In contrast, soil type accounted for most of the variability in seagrass meadows. Total SOC stocks in the GBR catchments, including mangroves, seagrass meadows and tidal marshes, is approximately 137 Tg C. Total stocks in the GBR catchments, including mangroves, seagrass meadows and tidal marshes, is approximately 137 Tg C. The SOC stored within coastal wetlands in the GBR catchments represent 9-13% of Australia’s total SOC stocks while encompassing only 4-6% of the total extent of Australian coastal wetlands. In a global context, this could represent 0.5-1.4% of global SOC stocks. Our study suggests that landward migration due to projected sea level rise has the potential to enhance SOC stocks with total carbon gains between 0.16-0.46 Tg C and provides an opportunity for future restoration to enhance blue carbon gains.

Item ID: 67578
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: blue carbon; climate change; coastal wetlands; mangroves; seagrass meadows; soil carbon stocks; tidal marshes
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Copyright Information: © 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Funders: The Land Restoration Fund (TLRF), Deakin University, Qantas, HSBC, Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Government National Environment Science Program (Tropical Water Quality Hub, Queensland Government - Advance Queensland Industry Research
Projects and Grants: TLRF Grant Number: LRF040, ARC Linkage grant LP160100492, ARC Linkage grant LP160100242, Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, ECU Higher Degree by Research Scholarship
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 02:17
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410101 Carbon sequestration science @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 50%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 50%
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