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Mangroves provide blue carbon ecological value at a low freshwater cost

October 28, 2022

“Blue carbon” wetland vegetation has a limited freshwater requirement. One type, mangroves, utilizes less freshwater during transpiration than adjacent terrestrial ecoregions, equating to only 43% (average) to 57% (potential) of evapotranspiration (ET">ET). Here, we demonstrate that comparative consumptive water use by mangrove vegetation is as much as 2905 kL H2O ha−1 year−1 less than adjacent ecoregions with Ec">Ec-to-ET">ET ratios of 47–70%. Lower porewater salinity would, however, increase mangrove Ec">Ec-to-ET">ET ratios by affecting leaf-, tree-, and stand-level eco-physiological controls on transpiration. Restricted water use is also additive to other ecosystem services provided by mangroves, such as high carbon sequestration, coastal protection and support of biodiversity within estuarine and marine environments. Low freshwater demand enables mangroves to sustain ecological values of connected estuarine ecosystems with future reductions in freshwater while not competing with the freshwater needs of humans. Conservative water use may also be a characteristic of other emergent blue carbon wetlands.

Publication Year 2022
Title Mangroves provide blue carbon ecological value at a low freshwater cost
DOI 10.1038/s41598-022-21514-8
Authors Ken Krauss, Catherine E. Lovelock, Luzhen Chen, Uta Berger, Marilyn C. Ball, Ruth Reef, Ronny Peters, Hannah Bowen, Alejandra G. Vovides, Eric Ward, Marie-Christin Wimmler, Joel A. Carr, Pete Bunting, Jamie A. Duberstein
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Scientific Reports
Index ID 70237870
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; Eastern Ecological Science Center