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Carbon Budget as a Tool for Assessing Mangrove Forests Degradation in the Western, Coastal Wetlands Complex (Ramsar Site 1017) of Southern Benin, West Africa

Part of the Estuaries of the World book series (EOTW)

Abstract

Carbon budgets were established for pockets of mangrove forests within the western coastal wetland complex of southern Benin (Ramsar site 1017) using standard methods. We assessed carbon stocks in four (0.1 ha) transects in sites with different levels of degradation of mangrove vegetation from non-forested, very degraded, degraded, to non-degraded mangroves in Kpétou, Djègbadji, Adounko (1), and Adounko (2) sites, respectively. Species encountered were typical of the west-central African region: Avicennia germinans, Rhizophora racemosa, Acrosticum aureum (fern), and Paspalum vaginatum. The maximum diameter was 24.8 and 20.3 cm for Avicennia and Rhizophora, respectively, in non-degraded mangrove sites, at a maximum height of 21 m. Standing volumes varied from 6.55 m3/ha in degraded mangroves to 50.42 m3/ha in the non-degraded mangrove sites. The total annual carbon stock, to a soil depth of one meter, varied from 179.39 t/ha in the non-forested site, to 288.77 t/ha in degraded mangroves and 184.01 t/ha for non-degraded mangroves. Aboveground biomass carbon in non-degraded sites was on average 35.07 t/ha, more than five times that in degraded mangrove sites. The distribution of total ecosystem carbon stocks for the aboveground component for the mangrove sites ranged from 0.82 % for non-forested sites, 2.94 % for degraded to 16.01 % for non-degraded mangrove forests. The belowground carbon stocks component ranged from 179.39 to 288.77 t/ha, being the highest in degraded mangrove sites due to leached organic matter following degradation. Potential annual net CO2e emissions from up to 30 cm soil depth (compared to non-wooded mangrove vegetation) is estimated to increase from 10.28 to 99.64 t CO2e (22 % of non-wooded mangroves) following mangrove degradation and 43 t CO2e (10 %) avoided CO2e emissions from undisturbed mangrove forests.

Keywords

  • Mangroves
  • Degradation
  • Carbon budget
  • CO2 emission
  • Benin

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Acknowledgments

This study has been prepared with the financial assistance of the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands, Wetlands International and Both Ends, partners in the Ecosystem Alliance. The authors would like to thank all individuals and institutions that have contributed to the realization of this work. We also express gratitude to the leaders and authorities in the villages in which the sites were surveyed for their hospitality and especially to field assistants from the different site inventoried, as well as partners involved in laboratory analysis and particularly the officials of the Laboratory of Soil Science, Water and Environment of the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB) and those who took part in the workshop to discuss the preliminary results of this study. The administrative staff of NGO ECO-BENIN is heartily thanked for their sense of hospitality and work beyond working hours during the study period.

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Correspondence to Gordon N. Ajonina .

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Ajonina, G.N., Ago, E.E., Amoussou, G., Mibog, E.D., Akambi, I.D., Dossa, E. (2014). Carbon Budget as a Tool for Assessing Mangrove Forests Degradation in the Western, Coastal Wetlands Complex (Ramsar Site 1017) of Southern Benin, West Africa. In: Diop, S., Barusseau, JP., Descamps, C. (eds) The Land/Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone of West and Central Africa. Estuaries of the World. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-06388-1_12

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