Ecosystem Carbon Stocks of Intertidal Wetlands in Singapore

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Valerie Xin Hui Phang, Daniel Friess and Loke Ming Chou, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
Mangrove forests and seagrass meadows provide numerous ecosystem services, with huge recent interest in their carbon sequestration and storage value. Mangrove forests and seagrass meadows as well as mudflats and sandbars form a continuum of intertidal wetlands, but studies that consider these spatially-linked habitats as a whole are limited. This paper presents the results of a field-based and remote sensing carbon stock assessment, including the first study of the ecosystem carbon stocks of these adjacent habitats in the tropics. Aboveground, belowground and soil organic carbon pools were quantified at Chek Jawa, an intertidal wetland in Singapore. Total ecosystem carbon stocks averaged 499 Mg C ha-1 in the mangrove forest and 140 Mg C ha-1 in the seagrass meadow. Soil organic carbon dominated the total storage in both habitats. In the adjacent mudflats and sandbars, soil organic carbon averaged 143 and 124 Mg C ha-1 respectively. High amount of carbon stored in soil demonstrate the role of intertidal wetlands in sequestering large amount of carbon in sediments accumulated over millennia. High-resolution remote sensing imagery was used to create spatial models that upscaled field-based carbon measurements to the national scale. Field-based data and spatial modeling of ecosystem carbon stocks to the entire island through remote sensing provides a large-scale and holistic carbon stock value, important for the understanding and management of these threatened intertidal ecosystems.