Current and Future Carbon Stocks in Coastal Wetlands Within the Great Barrier Reef Catchmentst

A new paper is published in Global Change Biology, focusing on the Carbon treasure revealed at Great Barrier Reef . The paper is entitled :"Current and future carbon stocks in coastal wetlands within the Great Barrier Reef catchments".


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, they 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. They 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 stock in the GBR catchments, including mangroves, seagrass meadows and tidal marshes, is approximately 137 Tg C, which represents 9%–13% of Australia's total SOC stock 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 stock. Their study suggests that landward migration due to projected sea level rise has the potential to enhance carbon accumulation with total carbon gains between 0.16 and 0.46 Tg C and provides an opportunity for future restoration to enhance blue carbon.


This publication was led by Micheli Duarte de Paula Costa (Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia), and our Marine Mapping Group Member Mary Young contributed to the publication.


Congrats to Mary and the DU Marine Mapping Group!

To read the full article, click here.

Last edited on the October 27th, 2021.

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