Carbon storage in the Coastal Swamp Oak Forest wetlands of Australia

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Wetland Carbon and Environmental Management




School of Science




Kelleway, J. J., Adame, M. F., Gorham, C., Bratchell, J., Serrano, O., Lavery, P. S., ... & Saintilan, N. (2021). Carbon storage in the coastal swamp oak forest wetlands of Australia. Wetland Carbon and Environmental Management, 339-353.



Coastal Swamp Oak Forests (CSOF) dominated by the species Casuarina glauca are an Endangered Ecological Community under state and Commonwealth legislation in Australia. These forests have suffered significant historic declines due to changes in land use and hydrological modification. Although they have a limited contemporary extent (~320 to over 500 km 2 ) along the east coast of Australia, CSOF represent part of a much larger range of supratidal forested wetlands in Australia, which include wetlands vegetated by the more broadly distributed genus Melaleuca . For the first time, in this chapter we estimated aboveground and 1 m-depth belowground organic carbon (C org ) stocks in CSOF (mean ± SD: 143 ± 61 Mg C org /ha and 241 ± 136 Mg C org /ha, respectively) across six study sites in temperate and subtropical Australia. Variations in aboveground C org stock are explained by differences in the stature and structure of forests, while belowground C org stocks appear more reflective of within- and among-estuary variations in geomorphic evolution. These early findings show that C org stocks in CSOF are within the range of values reported for mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass ecosystems. Our data provide a foundation for future research efforts to determine the carbon sequestration potential of CSOF, and their amenability to management interventions which seek to reverse past losses and contribute to climate change mitigation.



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