Table 1 Estimated magnitude of global carbon stocks by ecosystem, based on geographic extent and average carbon content per hectare

From: Protecting irrecoverable carbon in Earth’s ecosystems

EcosystemGlobal geographic extent (1,000 km2)Typical carbon density (t C ha–1)aEstimated global carbon content (Gt C)aRecent loss rate (percentage area per year)c
Mangroves1455027.30.13%
Seagrasses4501115.00.95%
Marshes2102655.60.25%
Boreal forests10,7002642830.18%
Temperate broadleaf forests4,9602681330.35%
Temperate conifer forests2,410272660.28%
Tropical dry forests842166140.58%
Tropical moist forests11,7002522950.45%
Boreal peatlands3,609b5001810.00%
Temperate peatlands185b5009.30.00%
Tropical peatlands587b504300.60%
Temperate grasslands5,08077390.14%
Tropical grasslands7,00043300.14%
Montane grasslands2,600104270.14%
  1. aTypical carbon density is the sum of typical values for aboveground, belowground and soil organic carbon to depths of 30 cm (upland mineral soils) or 1 m (waterlogged peat and coastal systems).
  2. bThe geographic extent of peatlands captured above overlaps with other ecosystems: 56% of the peatland area overlaps with forests and 21% overlaps with grasslands, and 16% underlies croplands or areas of mixed land-use31.
  3. cForest and mangrove loss rates are based on a 2000–2012 timeframe; loss rates in other ecosystems are not tracked as closely and are based on different timeframes (see Supplementary Table 11).