Blue Carbon in Coastal Phragmites Wetlands Along the Southern Baltic Sea

Uwe Buczko, Gerald Jurasinski, Stephan Glatzel, Svenja Karstens

Coastal wetlands are important for carbon (C) storage and sequestration. Still, there are large knowledge gaps concerning the amount of "blue carbon" in coastal wetlands dominated by common reed (Phragmites australis). We quantified carbon stocks at the southern Baltic Sea coast at six representative Phragmites wetland sites at the Darss-Zingst-Bodden Chain (DZBC) and the Strelasund, which include different categories of adjacent land use (arable land, woodland, pasture, urban), topography (totally flat to undulating), and geographical restrictions (dyking). Sediment samples were taken to a depth of 1 m, in line with the IPCC guidelines, and total carbon concentrations and bulk densities were measured in 10 cm intervals. The sites stored, on average, 17.4 kg C m(-2) with large variability between sites, ranging from 1.76 to 88.6 kg C m(-2). The estimated average is generally in good agreement with carbon stocks reported for tidal salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrass meadows. According to our estimation, based on widths of the reed belts and carbon stocks at the sampled sites, approximately 264,600 t of blue carbon could be stored in the coastal reed belts along the DZBC, a typical lagoon system of the southern Baltic Sea. Our study underlines the importance of these unique ecotones between land and sea for storage and sequestration of blue carbon. Since Phragmites is also a common (sometimes invasive) species along other large brackish water basins, such as the Black Sea or Chesapeake Bay, these estimates can be used for improved precision of modeling blue carbon budgets.

Department of Geography and Regional Research
External organisation(s)
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU), Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Universität Rostock
Estuaries and Coasts
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
105405 Geoecology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Aquatic Science, Ecology
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 15 - Life on Land, SDG 13 - Climate Action
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