What is it about?

This study aims to determine the drivers of root decomposition and its role in carbon (C) budgets in mangroves and saltmarsh. We review the patterns of root decomposition, and its contribution to C budgets, in mangroves and saltmarsh: the impact of climatic (temperature and precipitation), geographic (latitude), temporal (decay period) and biotic (ecosystem type) drivers using multiple regression models. A combination of biotic, climatic, geographic and temporal drivers influences root decay rates. Rainfall and latitude have the strongest influence on root de- composition rates in saltmarsh. For mangroves, forest type is the most important; decomposition is faster in riverine mangroves than other types. Mangrove species Avicennia marina and saltmarsh species Spartina maritima and Phragmites australis have the highest root decomposition rates. Globally, dead root C production is the significant source of stored sediment C in mangroves and saltmarsh.

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Why is it important?

This is the first comprehensive global review synthesizing the fate of mangrove and saltmarsh root C production. The findings will contribute to an improved understanding of below-ground OM mineralisation and accumulation in mangrove and saltmarsh sediments, and its implications for C budgets in coastal wetlands.

Perspectives

This study quantifies the contribution of root decay to global C budgets in mangroves and saltmarsh and assesses factors that may cause variation in reported rates. I expect the study will contribute to constrain carbon budgets in coastal wetlands.

PhD Xiaoguang Ouyang
Chinese University of Hong Kong

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This page is a summary of: The role of root decomposition in global mangrove and saltmarsh carbon budgets, Earth-Science Reviews, March 2017, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.01.004.
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