Skip to main content

Blue carbon in coastal landscapes: a spatial framework for assessment of stocks and additionality

Abstract

Efforts to incorporate blue carbon, the carbon associated with marine ecosystems, into carbon accounting and carbon markets are increasing. To fully leverage the capacity of marine ecosystems to sequester carbon requires information to guide prioritisation of coastal landscapes for conservation and regeneration. A comprehensive landscape-scale assessment of mangrove and saltmarsh blue carbon requires information regarding vegetation cover, sedimentological and geomorphological factors. This information should also be integrated with socio-economic factors that alter natural processes of blue carbon accumulation and storage. The purpose of this study was to provide a framework for undertaking a first-pass assessment of blue carbon storage, preservation, generation and permanency in coastal landscapes, and to incorporate socio-economic factors that will influence blue carbon storage in coastal landscapes. This was achieved using readily available datasets that were analysed using a raster-based approach to develop a proxy indication of biophysical and socio-economic factors relevant for mangrove and saltmarsh blue carbon. The approach demonstrated that large catchments were associated with areas highly suitable for blue carbon storage, preservation, generation and permanency. Small catchments associated with mature barrier estuaries had the highest proportional area that provides potential blue carbon ecosystem services and climate mitigation benefits. The qualitative approach used does not replace high-resolution quantitative assessments of blue carbon storage, flux and detailed site-specific assessment of socio-economic factors that may influence blue carbon services; however, it can be used to guide prioritisation of blue carbon landscapes for further assessment prior to conservation and/or regeneration.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  • Allen JRL (2000) Morphodynamics of Holocene salt marshes: a review sketch from the Atlantic and Southern North Sea coasts of Europe. Quat Sci Rev 19:1155–1231

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alongi DM (2008) Mangrove forests: resilience, protection from tsunamis, and responses to global climate change. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 76:1–13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alongi DM (2011) Carbon payments for mangrove conservation: ecosystem constraints and uncertainties of sequestration potential. Environ Sci Policy 14:462–470

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chmura GL, Anisfeld SC, Cahoon DR, Lynch JC (2003) Global carbon sequestration in tidal, saline wetland soils. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 17:1111

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Clarke LD, Hannon NJ (1967) The mangrove swamp and salt marsh communities of the Sydney district: I. Vegetation, soils and climate. J Ecol 55:753–771

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coverdale TC, Brisson CP, Young EW, Yin SF, Donnelly JP, Bertness MD (2014) Indirect human impacts reverse centuries of carbon sequestration and salt marsh accretion. PLoS One 9:e93296

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • DECC (2007) Land use: New South Wales. A data set of land use between June 2000 and June 2007 for New South Wales. Department of Environmental and Climate Change, NSW, Sydney

    Google Scholar 

  • DeLaune R, White J (2012) Will coastal wetlands continue to sequester carbon in response to an increase in global sea level?: a case study of the rapidly subsiding Mississippi river deltaic plain. Clim Change 110:297–314. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0089-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duarte CM, Losada IJ, Hendriks IE, Mazarrasa I, Marba N (2013) The role of coastal plant communities for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nat Clim Change 3:961–968. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1970. http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n11/abs/nclimate1970.html#supplementary-information

  • Emerson D, Weiss JV, Megonigal JP (1999) Iron-oxidizing bacteria are associated with ferric hydroxide precipitates (Fe-plaque) on the roots of wetland plants. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:2758–2761

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Emmer I, von Unger M, Needelman B, Crooks S, Emmett-Mattox S (2015) Coastal blue carbon in practice: a manual for using the VCS methodology for tidal wetland and seagrass restoration VM0033. In: Simpson S (ed). Restore America’s Estuaries and Silvestrum, Arlington

    Google Scholar 

  • Giri C et al (2011) Status and distribution of mangrove forests of the world using earth observation satellite data. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 20:154–159. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00584.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hashimoto TR, Saintilan N, Haberle SG (2006) Mid-holocene development of mangrove communities featuring rhizophoraceae and geomorphic change in the Richmond river estuary, New South Wales, Australia. Geographical Research 44:63–76

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hiraishi T et al (2014) 2013 supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories: wetlands. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  • Howard J, Hoyt S, Isensee K, Pidgeon E, Telszewski M (eds) (2014) Coastal blue carbon: methods for assessing carbon stocks and emissions factors in mangroves, tidal salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. Conservation International, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Arlington

    Google Scholar 

  • Kauffman JB, Heider C, Norfolk J, Payton F (2014) Carbon stocks of intact mangroves and carbon emissions arising from their conversion in the Dominican Republic. Ecol Appl 24:518–527. https://doi.org/10.1890/13-0640.1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kelleway JJ, Saintilan N, Macreadie PI, Ralph PJ (2016a) Sedimentary factors are key predictors of carbon storage in SE Australian saltmarshes. Ecosystems 19:865–880

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kelleway JJ, Saintilan N, Macreadie PI, Skilbeck CG, Zawadzki A, Ralph PJ (2016b) Seventy years of continuous encroachment substantially increases ‘blue carbon’capacity as mangroves replace intertidal salt marshes. Glob change Biol 22:1097–1109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kelleway JJ et al (2017) Review of the ecosystem service implications of mangrove encroachment into salt marshes. Glob Change Biol 23:3967–3983

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kennedy H, Alongi DM, Karim A (2014) Coastal wetlands. In: Hiraishi T, Krug T, Tanabe K, Srivastava N, Jamsranjav B, Kujuda M, Troxler T (eds) 2013 supplement to the 2006 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories: wetlands. IPCC, Geneva, p 55

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirwan ML, Megonigal JP (2013) Tidal wetland stability in the face of human impacts and sea-level rise. Nature 504:53–60. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12856

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kirwan ML, Mudd SM (2012) Response of salt-marsh carbon accumulation to climate change. Nature 489:550–553

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lewis SE, Sloss CR, Murray-Wallace CV, Woodroffe CD, Smithers SG (2013) Post-glacial sea-level changes around the Australian margin: a review. Quat Sci Rev 74:115–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.09.006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lin C, Melville M (2010) Mangrove soil: a potential contamination source to estuarine ecosystems of Australia. Wetlands (Australia) 11:68–75

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lucas R et al (2014) Contribution of L-band SAR to systematic global mangrove monitoring. Marine Freshw Res 65:589–603. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF13177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Macreadie PI, Hughes AR, Kimbro DL (2013) Loss of ‘blue carbon’from coastal salt marshes following habitat disturbance. PloS One 8:e69244

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Macreadie PI et al (2015) Losses and recovery of organic carbon from a seagrass ecosystem following disturbance. Proc R Soc B 282:20151537

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Macreadie PI et al (2017) Can we manage coastal ecosystems to sequester more blue carbon? Front Ecol Environ 15:206–213

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McLeod E et al (2011) A blueprint for blue carbon: toward an improved understanding of the role of vegetated coastal habitats in sequestering CO2. Front Ecol Environ 9:552–560. https://doi.org/10.1890/110004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Megonigal J, Mines M, Visscher P (2005) Linkages to trace gases and aerobic processes. Biogeochemistry 8:350–362

    Google Scholar 

  • Nguyen TT, Bonetti J, Rogers K, Woodroffe CD (2016) Indicator-based assessment of climate-change impacts on coasts: a review of concepts, methodological approaches and vulnerability indices. Ocean Coast Manag 123:18–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Northam KJ (2016) Influence of entrance regim on vegetation profiles and carbon storage in south-eastern New South Wales ICOLLs. Bachelor of Environemntal Science (Honours), University of Wollongong

  • Owers CJ, Rogers K, Mazumder D, Woodroffe CD (2016a) Spatial variation in carbon storage: a case study for Currambene Creek, NSW, Australia. J Coast Res 75(SI):1297–1301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Owers CJ, Rogers K, Woodroffe CD (2016b) Identifying spatial variability and complexity in wetland vegetation using an object-based approach. Int J Remote Sens 37:4296–4316

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parry MK, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (2007) Appendix 1: Glossary. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Pendleton L et al (2012) Estimating global “blue carbon” emissions from conversion and degradation of vegetated coastal ecosystems. PLoS One 7:e43542. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043542

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Poffenbarger H, Needelman B, Megonigal J (2011) Salinity influence on methane emissions from tidal marshes. Wetlands 31:831–842. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-011-0197-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rogers K, Woodroffe CD (2014) Tidal flats and salt marshes. In: Masselink G, Gehrels R (eds) Coastal environments and global change. Wiley, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Rogers K, Woodroffe CD (2016) Geomorphology as an indicator of the biophysical vulnerability of estuaries to coastal and flood hazards in a changing climate. J Coast Conserv 20:127–144

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rogers K, Saintilan N, Copeland C (2012) Modelling wetland surface elevation and its application to forecasting the effects of sea-level rise on estuarine wetlands. Ecol Model 244:148–157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rogers K, Knoll E, Copeland C, Walsh S (2016a) Quantifying changes to historic fish habitat extent on north coast NSW floodplains, Australia. Reg Environ Change 16(5):1469–1479. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-015-0872-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rogers K et al (2016b) The state of legislation and policy protecting Australia’s mangrove and salt marsh and their ecosystem services. Marine Policy 72:139–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roper T et al (2011) Assessing the condition of estuaries and coastal lake ecosystems in NSW, Monitoring, evaluation and reporting program Technical Report Series, Office of Environment and Heritage. NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Sydney

  • Roy PS (1980) Quaternary depositional environments and stratigraphy of the Fullerton Cove region, central New South Wales. Rec Geol Surv NSW 19:189–219

    Google Scholar 

  • Roy PS et al (2001) Structure and function of south-east Australian estuaries. estuarine. Coast Shelf Sci 53:351–384

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saintilan N, Wilton K (2001) Changes in the distribution of mangroves and saltmarshes in Jervis Bay, Australia. Wetlands Ecol Manag 9:409–420

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saintilan N, Rogers K, Mazumder D, Woodroffe C (2013) Allochthonous and autochthonous contributions to carbon accumulation and carbon store in southeastern Australian coastal wetlands. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 128:84–92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2013.05.010

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sampere TP, Bianchi TS, Wakeham SG, Allison MA (2008) Sources of organic matter in surface sediments of the Louisiana Continental margin: effects of major depositional/transport pathways and Hurricane Ivan. Cont Shelf Res 28:2472–2487

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Serrano O et al (2016) Can mud (silt and clay) concentration be used to predict soil organic carbon content within seagrass ecosystems? Biogeosciences 13:4915–4926. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-4915-2016

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sloss CR, Murray-Wallace CV, Jones BG (2007) Holocene sea-level change on the southeast coast of Australia: a review. Holocene 17:999–1014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sutton-Grier AE, Moore AK, Wiley PC, Edwards PET (2014) Incorporating ecosystem services into the implementation of existing U.S. natural resource management regulations: Operationalizing carbon sequestration and storage. Marine Policy 43:246–253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2013.06.003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Troedson A, Hashimoto TR, Jaworska J, Malloch K, Cain L (2004) New south wales coastal quaternary geology. prepared for the comprehensive coastal assessment (DoP) by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Mineral Resources, Maitland

    Google Scholar 

  • White J, DeLaune R, Li C, Bentley S (2009) Sediment methyl and total mercury concentrations along the Georgia and Louisiana inner shelf, USA. Anal Lett 42:1219–1231

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Woodroffe CD (1990) The impact of sea-level rise on mangrove shorelines. Prog Phys Geogr 14:483–520

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Woodroffe CD, Mulrennan ME, Chappell J (1993) Estuarine infill and coastal progradation, southern van Diemen Gulf, Northern Australia. Sed Geol 83:257–275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Woodroffe CD, Lovelock CE, Rogers K (2014) Mangrove shorelines. In: Masselink G, Gehrels R (eds) Coastal Environments Glbal Change. Wiley, West Sussex, UK

    Google Scholar 

  • Woodroffe CD, Rogers K, McKee KL, Lovelock CE, Mendelssohn IA, Saintilan N (2016) Mangrove sedimentation and response to relative sea-level rise. Annu Rev Marine Sci 8:243–266

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the South East local Lands Service, UOW Global Challenges Program and the Australian Research Council (for KR: FT130100532).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to K. Rogers.

Additional information

Handled by John Edward Hay, Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science, Ibaraki University, Japan.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 51 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rogers, K., Macreadie, P.I., Kelleway, J.J. et al. Blue carbon in coastal landscapes: a spatial framework for assessment of stocks and additionality. Sustain Sci 14, 453–467 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0575-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0575-0

Keywords

  • Mangrove
  • Saltmarsh
  • Conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • First-pass assessment
  • GIS