Mangrove forests are ecosystems that lie at the confluence of freshwater rivers and salty seas. While they make up only 0.7 percent of the world’s forests, they have the potential to store about 2.5 times as much CO2 as humans produce globally each year. (via Restoring Mangroves May Prove Cheap Way to Cool Climate: Scientific American)
- Shrimp aquaculture, fishing and rice growing — especially in Southeast Asia — are slowly degrading mangroves. Every five to 20 years, a biological or chemical problem affects a pond, forcing farmers or fishermen to abandon the area and dig a new pond in an undisturbed mangrove forest. A World Bank study last year found that the removal of the typical coastal wetland has added about 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per square kilometer per year to the atmosphere over 50 years (ClimateWire, April 12, 2011).
- Mangroves, as well as other wetlands, absorb most carbon through soils, rather than forests’ trees. While soils have a greater potential to hold carbon, the science to measure and track soil carbon is less developed, and methodologies from carbon verification bodies are still in infancy.