Communications Earth and Environment
School of Science / Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior
Vegetated coastal ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses, and saltmarshes, often called Blue Carbon ecosystems) store large carbon stocks. However, their regional carbon inventories, sequestration rates, and potential as natural climate change mitigation strategies are poorly constrained. Here, we systematically review organic carbon storage and accumulation rates in vegetated coastal ecosystems across the Central and Southwestern Atlantic, extending from Guyana (08.28°N) to Argentina (55.14°S). We estimate that 0.4 Pg organic carbon is stored in the region, which is approximately 2-5% of global carbon stores in coastal vegetated systems, and that they accumulate 0.5 to 3.9 Tg carbon annually. By ecosystem type, mangroves have the largest areal extent and contribute 70-80% of annual organic carbon accumulation, with Brazil hosting roughly 95% of mangrove stocks. Our findings suggest that organic carbon accumulation in the region is equivalent to 0.7 to 13% of global rates in vegetated coastal ecosystems, indicating the importance of conserving these ecosystems as a nature-based approach for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
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