Can we quantify carbon emissions and removals associated with mangrove conversion and restoration?

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Can we quantify carbon emissions and removals associated with mangrove conversion and restoration?

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Mangroves are among the most valuable natural habitats in South-East Asia, due to the vast range and quality of ecosystem services they provide for people. Near Sanur, a beach community on the island of Bali (Indonesia), there is a remnant mangrove forest that generate valuable economic benefits to the people of Bali. It protect the coastline from storms and tsunamis, while providing important fish nursery habitats, and capturing and storing significant amounts of carbon. However, this region is experiencing unprecedented rates of mangrove deforestation and conversion. In fact, it is the highest in the world.

Not far from Sanur’s urban mangrove forest, researchers from RIEL-Charles Darwin University, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the National University of Singapore gathered for a three-day workshop on “Quantifying global carbon emissions and removals associated with mangrove conversion and restoration”. This workshop was supported by the CIFOR Evidence Based Forestry Program, which awarded a research grant to conduct a systematic review of carbon stocks and fluxes, associated with land-use and land-cover changes in mangrove ecosystems.

Our team’s focus was to bring together a data-base of carbon stocks and fluxes from mangrove ecosystem from more than 250 scientific published papers. We then shifted our focus on improving the systematic review methodologies, which we applied to the published literature in our data-base, particularly focusing on guideline for how a study was included or excluded.

In the systematic review, high priority was given to paired studies that report carbon stock and / or flux from both natural and disturbed sites. Most of the collected studies we screened were focused on carbon stock assessments rather than greenhouse gases flux measurements, and almost 75% of experiments were conducted in natural, undisturbed forests. This resulted in a number of papers from which data can be extracted.

The findings from this review will be presented at the next IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group Conference, 12th – 17th September 2017, in Bremen-Germany.

For more information on the project, contact Sigit D Sasmito (sigitdeni.sasmito@cdu.edu.au) and Pierre Taillardat (taillardat.pierre@u.nus.edu)