Carbon (C) standing stocks, C mass balance, and soil C burial in tidal freshwater forested wetlands (TFFW) and TFFW transitioning to low-salinity marshes along the upper estuary are not typically included in “blue carbon” accounting, but may represent a significant C sink. Results from two salinity transects along the tidal Waccamaw and Savannah rivers of the U.S. Atlantic Coast show that total C standing stocks were 322–1,264 Mg C/ha among all sites, generally shifting to greater soil storage as salinity increased. Carbon mass balance inputs (litterfall, woody growth, herbaceous growth, root growth, and surface accumulation) minus C outputs (surface litter and root decomposition, gaseous C) over a period of up to 11 years were 340–900 g C · m −2 · year −1. Soil C burial was variable (7–337 g C · m −2 · year −1), and lateral C export was estimated as C mass balance minus soil C burial as 267–849 g C · m −2 · year −1. This represents a large amount of C export to support aquatic biogeochemical transformations. Despite reduced C persistence within emergent vegetation, decomposition of organic matter, and higher lateral C export, total C storage increased as forests converted to marsh with salinization. These tidal river wetlands exhibited high N mineralization in salinity-stressed forested sites and considerable P mineralization in low-salinity marshes. Large C standing stocks and rates of C sequestration suggest that TFFW and oligohaline marshes are considerably important globally to coastal C dynamics and in facilitating energy transformations in areas of the world in which they occur.
- Swamp forest
- Carbon budget