Publication Details

Saintilan, N., Rogers, K., Mazumder, D. & Woodroffe, C. (2013). Allochthonous and autochthonous contributions to carbon accumulation and carbon store in southeastern Australian coastal wetlands. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 128 84-92.


Estimates of carbon store and carbon accumulation rate in mangrove and saltmarsh are beset by issues of scale and provenance. Estimates at a site do not allow scaling to regional estimates if the drivers of variability are not known. Also, carbon accumulation within soils provides a net offset only if carbon is derived in-situ, or would not otherwise be sequestered. We use a network of observation sites extending across 2000 km of southeastern Australian coastline to determine the influence of geomorphic setting and coastal wetland vegetation type on rates of carbon accumulation, carbon store and probable sources. Carbon accumulation above feldspar marker horizons over a 10-year period was driven primarily by tidal range and position in the tidal frame, and was higher for mangrove and saltmarsh dominated by Juncus kraussii than for other saltmarsh communities. The rate of carbon loss with depth varied between geomorphic settings and was the primary determinant of carbon store. A down-core enrichment in δ13C was consistent with an increased relative contribution of mangrove root material to soil carbon, as mangrove roots were found to be consistently enriched compared to leaves. We conclude that while surface carbon accumulation is driven primarily by tidal transport of allocthonous sediment, in-situ carbon sequestration is the dominant source of recalcitrant carbon, and that mangrove and saltmarsh carbon accumulation and store is high in temperate settings, particularly in mesotidal and fluvial geomorphic settings.



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