Impacts of Land Cover Change on the Carbon Dynamics in Indonesian Tropical Forested Wetlands- Mangroves and Peat Swamp Forests
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Tropical wetland forests including mangroves and lowland peat swamp forests contain among the highest carbon stocks of any ecosystem on the planet. This is largely due to the accumulation of deep organic rich soils which have been sequestering carbon for millennia. Depth of organic layers (peats) can exceed 3 m in mangrove and 10 m in the peat swamp forests. The ecosystem carbon stocks may exceed 2000 Mg/ha in mangroves and 5000 Mg/ha in peat swamp forests. Ironically, rates of deforestation of these tropical forests are among the highest in the tropics. With land cover change comes dramatic shifts in carbon stocks, net ecosystem productivity, and greenhouse gas emissions. Land cover change results in carbon losses of practically all aboveground pools as well as losses arising from soil pools. Based upon studies where we have compared stock changes due to land use the carbon emissions arising from land cover change to shrimp ponds and oil palm have ranged from 800-3000 Mg CO2e/ha. The lowered carbon sequestration rates coupled with increased or similar emissions from decomposition results in an ecosystem shift from a carbon sink to a carbon source. Clearly the large carbon stocks, high rates of deforestation, and large emissions resulting from their degradation suggest that these ecosystems should receive great consideration in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.