Allochthonous and autochthonous contributions to carbon accumulation and carbon store in southeastern Australian coastal wetlands

N. Saintilan*, K. Rogers, D. Mazumder, C. Woodroffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 2000km 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume128
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

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