Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 27, Issue 2–3, pp 223–242 | Cite as

Aboveground carbon stock in a restored neotropical mangrove: influence of management and brachyuran crab assemblage

  • Alexander C. FerreiraEmail author
  • Luis Ernesto Arruda Bezerra
  • Helena Matthews-Cascon
Original Paper


Mangrove forests are important sinks of atmospheric carbon, and the internal deposits and fluxes of organic matter can reflect how these ecosystems respond to disturbances and environmental changes. Data on carbon content of mangrove forests vary geographically due to differences in abiotic (climate, geomorphic settings, tides) and biotic (diversity, herbivory, bioturbation) conditions. Mangroves have been degraded worldwide and ecological restoration is an alternative to recover these ecosystems and their functionality. However, although growing and biomass after disturbances have been addressed, studies on the recovery of faunal groups are rare. The brachyuran crab assemblage is strongly integrated to carbon recycling and ecosystem functioning, since propagule consumption and fossorial activity can affect the diversity and biomass of mangroves. We assessed the aboveground biomass and carbon stock of differently managed mangrove areas in northeastern Brazil, after being deforested for shrimp culture and then abandoned, and compared data with other forests worldwide. After a decade, the area restored with Rhizophora mangle showed higher carbon stock than the self-recovered forest and similar amount as an older forest. We discuss the applied rehabilitation measures regarding the effects of management and brachyuran crabs on forest aboveground carbon storage. The effects of herbivory and bioturbation of brachyurans on the low recruitment of Laguncularia racemosa propagules, contributed to higher biomass levels in the restored forest through reinforcing the predominance of R. mangle, which stocks more aboveground carbon with respect to Laguncularia. This suggests that the particularities of target tree species and brachyuran assemblage need to be considered in mangrove restoration, since they are related to function recovering and carbon cycling in the ecosystem.


Mangrove restoration Ecosystem functioning Carbon sequestering Biomass stock Brachyuran crabs Ecosystem engineers 



We are grateful to CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior/MEC, Brazil) for providing post-doctoral grant (AC Ferreira). We also thank Carlos E.R.D Alencar for his support with statistical analysis.


Post-doctoral Grant (AC Ferreira) provided by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior/MEC), Brazil.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11273_2019_9654_MOESM1_ESM.docx (43 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 42 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander C. Ferreira
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Luis Ernesto Arruda Bezerra
    • 1
  • Helena Matthews-Cascon
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR)Universidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Invertebrados Marinhos (LIMCE), Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratorio de ZoobentosInstituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR), Universidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil

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