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Research Report

Carbon storage in mangrove and peatland ecosystems: A preliminary account from plots in Indonesia

Daniel Murdiyarso
Daniel Donato
J. Boone Kauffman
Sofyan Kurnianto
Melanie Stidham
Markku Kanninen
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2009
Pages: 40
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-8)

    Tropical mangroves and peat swamp forests provide numerous ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, sediment trapping, protection from cyclones and tsunamis, habitat for numerous organisms (many economically important) and wood for lumber and fuel (Ellison 2008). Among the most important of these functions—but poorly quantified—is ecosystem carbon (C) storage. The estimated carbon stored in these ecosystems is so large that it makes mangrove and peatland important for climate change mitigation. However, these econsystem are especially vulnerable to climate and land use change.

    The region comprising Southeast Asia and the western Pacific Islands (the Indo-Pacific) is the global epicentre of...

  2. (pp. 9-13)

    The studies were carried out in three contrasting mangrove ecosystems, representing marine or oceanic mangroves in North Sulawesi (Bunaken National Park), river delta mangroves in Central Kalimantan (Tanjung Puting National Park) and lagoon-associated mangroves in Central Java (Segara Anakan). In addition, a riverine peat swamp ecosystem in Tanjung Puting National Park was studied (see Figure 1).

    Bunaken National Park is located in the province of North Sulawesi, covering 79 056 ha of land and marine areas. The park consists of two sections: (1) the northern section, which encompasses five islands (Bunaken, Silaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage and Nain) and the coastal...

  3. (pp. 14-17)

    In each sampled forest ecosystem, a transect arranged perpendicular from the river or coast shoreline was established with no a priori knowledge of forest composition or structure. Six plots were established along the transect at 25-m intervals (see Figure 5). Measurements and collection of trees, saplings, woody debris, understorey/litter and soil were conducted as described below.

    The diameter at breast height (dbh = stem diameter at 137 cm above the ground) of each tree was measured, in 6 circular plots with a radius of 7 m in mangroves and 10 m in peat swamps. Trees include all living woody stems...

  4. (pp. 18-23)

    Ecosystem C-stocks of sampled mangrove forests ranged from 437 Mg C ha–1 to 2186 Mg C ha−1 (Table 1). The overall mean ecosystem C-stock across the three study sites was 993.3 Mg C ha−1. This C storage is exceptionally high compared with upland tropical forests —which typically store between 150 and 500 Mg C ha−1 (e.g. Murdiyarso et al. 2002)— and is perhaps second only to the renowned C-stocks of peat swamp forests (e.g. Page et al. 2002).

    The river delta mangroves of Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, contained the largest mean C-stocks of all sampled sites at...

  5. (pp. 24-26)

    Across all 30 plots in Tanjung Puting National Park, we measured a total of 2390 trees, representing 55 species in 29 families. In term of species diversity, the Shannon–Wiener diversity index and Thompson’s diversity index were 3.29 and 0.94, respectively; as both these values are high compared with other swamp forest ecosystems, the diversity of the distribution of individuals across species can be described as relatively high in this area. The distribution of tree diameters revealed a typical reverse J-shaped pattern. Approximately 60% of trees have a dbh of less than 10 cm (Figure 12).

    Ganua motleyana (Sapotaceae family)...

  6. (pp. 27-29)

    Keeping mangroves and peat swamp forests intact has been a difficult challenge in Indonesia. Because developing and rehabilitating such ecosystems are not easy tasks, an incentive system to conserve these carbon-rich systems is urgently needed. There is a great need to raise awareness of the issue and at the same time to build partnerships among stakeholders.

    Mangroves provide a natural physical barrier against soil erosion, tsunamis and storm surges. The threat of sea-level rise is quite prominent for small islands and low-lying coastal zones (IPCC 2007). Therefore, conserving and restoring mangrove areas should be mainstreamed into coastal development agendas as...

  7. (pp. 30-30)

    Measurement campaigns of C-stocks in mangrove and peatland ecosystems provide a basis for further developing field assessments and monitoring. The data presented in this report show that mangroves hold C-pools that are among the largest in the tropics. We found no consistent or conclusive differences in terms of belowground C-stocks across sites and by distance from the ocean. However, the ocean does affect mangrove forest stature and hence aboveground C-stocks. Small-stature stands are more often found in oceanic (fringe) settings, while large-stature stands are found in physically protected, riverine or estuarine ecosystems.

    The limited samples from peatlands prevent us from...