31 C
Byron Shire
February 29, 2024

Mangroves keep carbon in the soil for 5,000 years

Latest News

Investment fraud charges – Gold Coast

Detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group have arrested and charged five people in relation to an alleged ‘boiler room’ investment fraud operating on the Gold Coast.

Other News

Byron Council reduces fossil fuel investment to 56%

Byron Shire Council investments in projects linked to fossil fuel production decreased significantly after the NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp) relaxed rules last year.

Doing it for Dunkley

The eyes of Australia turn this week to the electorate of Dunkley in Victoria, historically the site of the Frankston riot and just down the road from where Harold Holt disappeared. Now it's the location of an all important federal by-election.

More recycled material for Lennox road improvements

Lennox Head's latest road resurfacing projects are benefiting from leading edge recycling technology, converting waste to useful new life

Native title holders defend Wallum DA endorsement

Leweena Williams, representing the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council, told councillors at Thursday’s meeting that her organisation stands by their cultural assessment of the Bruns Wallum site, which is slated for urban development by Clarence Property.

Bulldozers

Council’s excuse for letting the bulldozers into the Wallum site is that it will lose in court and waste...

Byron Dog Rescue: 20 years of lifesaving love and dedication

Celebrating two decades of compassion and dedication to our four-legged friends by Byron Dog Rescue.

Matthew Costa exploring a mangrove forest in Mexico. Photo Ramiro Arcos Aguilar/UCSD

Brought to you by Cosmos Magazine and The Echo

Marine forests are great long-term carbon sinks.

On top of all the other dazzling biology, mangrove forests are massive carbon sinks.

In fact, according to new research on a Mexican mangrove forest, they can keep carbon out of the atmosphere for millennia.

A study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series has found that the carbon stored in peat under the mangrove forest is over 5,000 years old.

“What’s special about these mangrove sites isn’t that they’re the fastest at carbon storage, but that they have kept the carbon for so long,” says co-author Emma Aronson, an associate professor in microbiology and plant pathology at the University of California, Riverside, US.

“It is orders of magnitude more carbon storage than most other ecosystems in the region.”

It’s well-known that mangroves, like other plant ecosystems, are good at absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in soil, with the help of a range of different microbes.

In a wet, oxygen-low environment – like under mangrove forests – the organic matter can form carbon-rich peat.

But soil carbon storage is rarely permanent: over decades or centuries, the carbon is cycled back into the atmosphere. (To learn more, read our explainer on soil carbon storage.)

The researchers set out to examine the microbial life, as well as the carbon and nitrogen storage, of marine mangrove forests near La Paz in Mexico.

They used radiometric dating to figure out the age of the peat, placing the oldest at 5,000 years, give or take about a century.

This extreme age surprised the researchers – while it’s not as old as the peat under Artic or Antarctic permafrost, it’s much older than surrounding ecosystems.

They’re now hoping to examine other mangrove sites in North and Central America to see whether they have similarly ancient carbon.

More on mangrove forests: Largest mangrove die-off affected by wobble in Moon’s orbit

“These sites are protecting carbon that has been there for millennia. Disturbing them would cause a carbon emission that we wouldn’t be able to repair any time soon,” says first author Dr Matthew Costa, a coastal ecologist at University of California, San Diego, US.

Costa says that protecting mangroves from disruption would have a significant effect on the climate.

“If we let these forests keep functioning, they can retain the carbon they’ve sequestered out of our atmosphere, essentially permanently.

“These mangroves have an important role in mitigating climate change.”


This article was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Ellen Phiddian. Ellen Phiddian is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a BSc (Honours) in chemistry and science communication, and an MSc in science communication, both from the Australian National University.

Published by The Echo in conjunction with Cosmos Magazine.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Well !
    Nothing new there, this has all been documented for decades, as has the role of ‘sea grass ‘ meadows , both of which are just as vandalised as what was left of our land-based forests.
    But , nobody cares . Cheers, G”)

  2. It’s the Plankton that keeps sucking all the CO2 out of the atmosphere to make their shells, then sinking to the ocean depths, eventually forming limestone under all that pressure. Plankton caused the ‘Great Oxygenation Event’ that wiped out most life on Earth with complete marine eco-system collapse across the entire planet. Your mosquito factories do bugger all.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

How to supply water to the increasing population?

It is predicted that the next 40 years will see the demand for water increase by 50 per cent in the local government areas that Rous County Council supply with water.

Protections can’t wait another seven years for NSW critical habitat 

Protections are needed now for native habitat in NSW as the state has seen a significant increase in native habitat clearing following the NSW...

Appeal following attempted abduction – Tweed Heads

Investigators are appealing for public assistance as investigations continue into an attempted abduction in Tweed Heads at the weekend.

Floodplain fury

With the two-year flood anniversary being recognised this week, Council appears to be pushing on with its plans to seek approval from the state government for floodplain development in Mullumbimby.