I recently was reading my Feb 2007 issue of National Geographic and aside from the other wonderful articles they had an amazing one entitled "Forests of the Tide". In this article it raised, and I must admit I was amazed at this fact. That Mangrove forests are highly effective carbon sinks.. I quote from the National Geographic Article "By measuring photosynthesis, sap flow, and other processes in the leaves of the forest canopy, Ong and his team can tell how much carbon is assimilated into mangrove leaves, how much is stored in living trees, and how much eventually makes its way into nearby waterways. The measurements suggest that mangroves may have the highest net productivity of carbon of any natural ecosystem (about a hundred pounds per acre [45 kilograms per 0.4 hectares] per day) and that as much as a third of this may be exported in the form of organic compounds to mudflats. Mangroves, it seems, are carbon factories, and their demolition robs the marine environment of a vital element.
Ong's team has also shown that a significant portion of the carbon ends up in forest sediments, remaining sequestered there for thousands of years. Conversion of a mangrove forest to a shrimp pond changes a carbon sink into a carbon source, liberating the accumulated carbon back into the atmosphere—but 50 times faster than it was sequestered."
After this I went a little further and started going around the Net to see if there was anything else, especially more on this research and found Prof. Jin Eong Ong's page on this Summary - Prof. Ong The Hidden Costs of Mangrove Destruction. Another quote from this site " 4 June 2002 – Bali, Indonesia – The destruction of mangrove forests in SE Asia, primarily due to digging ponds for shrimp aquaculture and for wood chips for the rayon industry, is releasing as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year as 1.5 million cars..
Setting aside the obvious value of the Mangrove Forests to assist in correcting the balance at the moment they also provided immense support and protection to the areas that were hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, another quote: "Where mangrove forests were intact, they served as natural breakwaters, dissipating the energy of the waves, mitigating property damage, perhaps saving lives. Post-tsunami, the logic of allowing a country's mangrove "bioshields" to be bulldozed looked not just flawed but reprehensible."
Over the coming weeks I want to write some more on Mangroves so if anyone has anything interesting or usefull links please drop me an email or comment.