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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Mangroves are among the most carbon-rich terrestrial ecosystems, primarily attributable to the soil pool. There are substantial differences in soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) due to the disparities in geomorphic settings and ecological drivers, but this insight is drawn primarily from observational studies. An objective inventory of carbon stocks in mangroves of the Rufiji River Delta, Tanzania was conducted. Seventy-five soil cores were collected within a 12,164 ha inventory area, comprising the northern portion of the delta. Cores were collected from intact and dwarf mangroves, agricultural fields, and mudflats. The spatial mean soil organic carbon (SOC) density in mangroves was 16.35 ± 6.25 mg C cm−3. Mean SOC density in non-vegetated mudflats was 12.16 ± 4.57 mg C cm−3, demonstrating that mangroves develop on soils with a substantial soil C stock. However, long-established mangroves had had a higher C density (17.27 ± 5.87 mg C cm−3). Using a δ13C mixing model, the source of soil organic matter in mudflats was primarily marine, while long-established mangroves was predominantly mangrove. There were small differences in SOC among long-established mangrove sites in different geomorphic settings. The proportion of marine-sourced SOC increased with soil depth in mangroves. The SOC and nitrogen of agricultural sites resemble those of mudflats, suggesting those sites are developed from relatively young forests. The SOC and nitrogen density in dwarf mangrove sites were lower than others, perhaps reflecting past disturbances.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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