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Global patterns in mangrove soil carbon stocks and losses


An Author Correction to this article was published on 27 November 2017

This article has been updated


Mangrove soils represent a large sink for otherwise rapidly recycled carbon (C). However, widespread deforestation threatens the preservation of this important C stock. It is therefore imperative that global patterns in mangrove soil C stocks and their susceptibility to remineralization are understood. Here, we present patterns in mangrove soil C stocks across hemispheres, latitudes, countries and mangrove community compositions, and estimate potential annual CO2 emissions for countries where mangroves occur. Global potential CO2 emissions from soils as a result of mangrove loss were estimated to be 7.0 Tg CO2e yr−1. Countries with the highest potential CO2 emissions from soils are Indonesia (3,410 Gg CO2e yr−1) and Malaysia (1,288 Gg CO2e yr−1). The patterns described serve as a baseline by which countries can assess their mangrove soil C stocks and potential emissions from mangrove deforestation.

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Figure 1: Latitudinal patterns in mangrove soil carbon.
Figure 2: Mangrove community composition and soil carbon stocks.
Figure 3: Soil carbon (C) stocks and potential annual CO2e emissions from mangrove deforestation.
Figure 4: Relationship between country-specific total C stocks and country-specific mangrove area.
Figure 5: Cumulative potential annual CO2e emissions from soils as a result of mangrove deforestation.
Figure 6: Relationship between country-specific C stocks per unit area and country-specific potential annual CO2e emissions.

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Change history

  • 27 November 2017

    In the version of this Article originally published, the potential carbon loss from soils as a result of mangrove deforestation was incorrectly given as '2.0–75 Tg C yr−1; this should have read '2–8 Tg C yr−1;'. The corresponding emissions were incorrectly given as '~7.3–275 Tg of CO2e'; this should have read '~7–29 Tg of CO2e'. The corresponding percentage equivalent of these emissions compared with those from global terrestrial deforestation was incorrectly given as '0.2–6%'; this should have read '0.6–2.4%'. These errors have now been corrected in all versions of the Article.


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Support was provided by the CSIRO Coastal Carbon Biogeochemistry Cluster. We also acknowledge the support of The Oceans Institute of the University of Western Australia, the Global Change Institute of The University of Queensland, and the Australian Research Council (Awards DE130101084, DE170101524, LP160100242, LE140100083 and DP150103286) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through the baseline fund to C.M.D. We would like to thank P. Terletzky-Gese for assistance with GIS.

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T.B.A., R.M.C., and C.E.L. designed the study. T.B.A., C.E.L., H.A., P.E.C., C.M.D., C.J.E.L., X.I., J.J.K., P.S.L., P.I.M., O.S., C.J.S., I.S. and A.D.L.S. contributed data. T.B.A. analysed the data and drafted the first version of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Trisha B. Atwood.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Atwood, T., Connolly, R., Almahasheer, H. et al. Global patterns in mangrove soil carbon stocks and losses. Nature Clim Change 7, 523–528 (2017).

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