Summary and Conclusions
Salt marshes, mangroves and seagrass meadows both actively and passively capture sediment and associated carbon particles from the overlying water. Median carbon sequestration rates in salt marshes, mangroves and seagrasses are 184, 103 and 167 g Corg m−2 d−1, respectively, while median global carbon sequestration rates are 10.0, 14.2 and 50.2–100.0 Tg Corg year−1. Median carbon stocks for salt marshes, mangroves and seagrasses are 282.2, 723.4 and 69.3 Mg Corg ha−1, respectively, while the median global carbon stocks are 1.2, 10.0 and 2.2–4.4 Pg Corg. Estimated carbon emissions (Pg CO2 equivalents) are 0.04–0.08 for salt marshes, 0.27–0.59 for mangroves and 0.54–1.08 for seagrasses. The economic costs (billion USD year−1) of wetland losses equate to $0.52–$1.04 for salt marshes, $3.51–$7.67 for mangroves and $7.02–$14.04 for seagrasses. Salt marshes, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows sequester and store more carbon than all other marine ecosystems and clearly are prime sites to retain carbon as any losses back to the atmosphere or coastal ocean are disproportionate to their small area.
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