Vegetated coastal ecosystems in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean are an unexploited opportunity for climate change mitigation

Vegetated coastal ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses, and saltmarshes, often called Blue Carbon ecosystems) store large carbon stocks. However, their regional carbon inventories, sequestration rates, and potential as natural climate change mitigation strategies are poorly constrained. Here, we systematically review organic carbon storage and accumulation rates in vegetated coastal ecosystems across the Central and Southwestern Atlantic, extending from Guyana (08.28°N) to Argentina (55.14°S). We estimate that 0.4 Pg organic carbon is stored in the region, which is approximately 2-5% of global carbon stores in coastal vegetated systems, and that they accumulate 0.5 to 3.9 Tg carbon annually. By ecosystem type, mangroves have the largest areal extent and contribute 70-80% of annual organic carbon accumulation, with Brazil hosting roughly 95% of mangrove stocks. Our findings suggest that organic carbon accumulation in the region is equivalent to 0.7 to 13% of global rates in vegetated coastal ecosystems, indicating the importance of conserving these ecosystems as a nature-based approach for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Communications Earth & Environment, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: biogeochemistry; marine chemistry.
Hatje, V., Copertino, M., Patire, V.F. et al. Vegetated coastal ecosystems in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean are an unexploited opportunity for climate change mitigation. Commun Earth Environ 4, 160 (2023).