A new study says the world’s tropical coastal forests store more planet-warming carbon dioxide than almost any other ecosystem.
But rapid loss of these forests – known as mangroves – is releasing substantial and previously unrecognized quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Mangroves provide rich breeding grounds for fish, and they help buffer coastal areas from storm surges. But their role in trapping climate-warming carbon dioxide has not been studied much.
A new study in the journal “Nature Geoscience” provides a first look.
Daniel Donato with the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his colleagues surveyed tree mass, dead wood, and soil carbon in 25 mangrove ecosystems around the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans.