Advancing carbon measurements in mangrove forest

15 March 2012 | Article

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), an IUCN member, has just published a new report ‘Protocols for the measurement, monitoring and reporting of structure, biomass and carbon stocks in mangrove forests’ and highlights the alarming rate of mangrove loss.

This report describes the approaches necessary for the measurement, monitoring and reporting of structure, biomass and carbon stocks in mangrove forests. It outlines biologically relevant and statistically valid approaches to the efficient and accurate assessment of ecosystem structure, biomass and carbon stocks of mangrove forests.

Mangroves are one of the three coastal ecosystems alongside saltmarshes and seagrasses that are currently being studied for the carbon they store in plants and the sediment below them. If disturbed it makes them potential sources of significant greenhouse gas emissions. Mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrasses are some of the most rapidly disappearing natural systems on Earth.

IUCN is working with members and partners through the International Blue Carbon Science Working Group, co-lead by with Conservation International and UNESCO-IOC, to develop a Best Practice Field Guide for Assessing and Estimating Coastal Wetland Carbon Stock, Sequestration Rates and Emissions Rates. The Working Group is building their efforts on the mangrove protocols developed by CIFOR. The Best Practice Field Guide will also include guidance for carbon assessment in saltmarshes and seagrass beds. The guide is intended to guide standardized field data collection and support national and site level pilot project development. It will be released later in 2012.