Publication Title

Communications Earth and Environment

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Department or Program


Publication Date



Vegetated coastal ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses, and saltmarshes, often called Blue Carbon ecosystems) store large carbon stocks. However, their regional carbon inventories, sequestration rates, and potential as natural climate change mitigation strategies are poorly constrained. Here, we systematically review organic carbon storage and accumulation rates in vegetated coastal ecosystems across the Central and Southwestern Atlantic, extending from Guyana (08.28°N) to Argentina (55.14°S). We estimate that 0.4 Pg organic carbon is stored in the region, which is approximately 2-5% of global carbon stores in coastal vegetated systems, and that they accumulate 0.5 to 3.9 Tg carbon annually. By ecosystem type, mangroves have the largest areal extent and contribute 70-80% of annual organic carbon accumulation, with Brazil hosting roughly 95% of mangrove stocks. Our findings suggest that organic carbon accumulation in the region is equivalent to 0.7 to 13% of global rates in vegetated coastal ecosystems, indicating the importance of conserving these ecosystems as a nature-based approach for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

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© The Authors 2023. This is the publisher's version of the work. This publication appears in Bates College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

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The version of record of this article, first published in Communications Earth & Environment, is available online at Publisher’s website: