Event Title

Salt marsh carbon storage and accumulation rate potential along the British Columbia and Washington Coast

Presentation Abstract

Identifying natural carbon sinks within the biosphere, that can effectively capture anthropogenic emissions of CO2, are critical to global climate change mitigation efforts. Salt marshes provide a range of important ecosystem services but recently have been recognized to be highly effective sinks of carbon and are becoming important ecosystems to help mitigate against climate change. These saline ecosystems sequester large amounts of carbon relative to their small surface area due to the ability to efficiently trap and bury suspended organic matter in their soils for millennia, as well as having salinities that prevent the production of large amounts of methane. These highly productive and large stocks of carbon are globally threatened yearly through losses (3-7%) by development and sea level rise. Additionally, due to a lack of empirically based estimates of salt marsh carbon storage and extent, these ecosystems are often overlooked when calculating global carbon budgets. This problem is accentuated on the Pacific coast of North America where few data have been reported. This research project aims to quantify the total carbon stocks and accumulation rates in large estuarine salt marshes in Boundary Bay, British Columbia and Willapa Bay, Washington State, and to use GIS to create a more detailed estimate of upper and lower marsh extents. This research will provide essential data on salt marsh carbon potential where currently few data exist. It will also contribute to a broader understanding of how driving factors, such as elevation, latitude, and disturbance, influence the capacity of temperate salt marshes to accumulate and store carbon. This research will also add to a greater understanding of how salt marsh ecosystems can help mitigate climate change, and what potential exists in restoration and conservation to contribute to enhanced carbon storage.

Session Title

Posters: Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, & Research

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-17

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Salt marsh carbon storage and accumulation rate potential along the British Columbia and Washington Coast

Identifying natural carbon sinks within the biosphere, that can effectively capture anthropogenic emissions of CO2, are critical to global climate change mitigation efforts. Salt marshes provide a range of important ecosystem services but recently have been recognized to be highly effective sinks of carbon and are becoming important ecosystems to help mitigate against climate change. These saline ecosystems sequester large amounts of carbon relative to their small surface area due to the ability to efficiently trap and bury suspended organic matter in their soils for millennia, as well as having salinities that prevent the production of large amounts of methane. These highly productive and large stocks of carbon are globally threatened yearly through losses (3-7%) by development and sea level rise. Additionally, due to a lack of empirically based estimates of salt marsh carbon storage and extent, these ecosystems are often overlooked when calculating global carbon budgets. This problem is accentuated on the Pacific coast of North America where few data have been reported. This research project aims to quantify the total carbon stocks and accumulation rates in large estuarine salt marshes in Boundary Bay, British Columbia and Willapa Bay, Washington State, and to use GIS to create a more detailed estimate of upper and lower marsh extents. This research will provide essential data on salt marsh carbon potential where currently few data exist. It will also contribute to a broader understanding of how driving factors, such as elevation, latitude, and disturbance, influence the capacity of temperate salt marshes to accumulate and store carbon. This research will also add to a greater understanding of how salt marsh ecosystems can help mitigate climate change, and what potential exists in restoration and conservation to contribute to enhanced carbon storage.