Quantifying net loss of global mangrove carbon stocks from 20 years of land cover change

Daniel Richards, Benjamin Thompson, Lahiru Wijedasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Mangrove forests hold some of the highest densities of carbon recorded in any ecosystem, but have experienced widespread deforestation through conversion to aquaculture and agriculture. Alongside deforestation, mangroves have shown simultaneous natural expansion in some parts of the world, and considerable investments have been made into restoration programmes. Here we estimate net changes in the global mangrove carbon stock due to land cover change between 1996 and 2016, using data on mangrove deforestation and forestation, and proportional changes in carbon stock during processes of mangrove loss and gain. The global mangrove carbon stock declined by 158.4 Mt (95% CI = −156.8–525.9 Mt); a reduction of 1.8% of the stock present in 1996. Efforts to conserve and restore mangroves appear to have had some success, and - along with natural forestation - have contributed to relatively low net losses of mangrove carbon stocks over two decades.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4260
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020


  • Mangroves
  • Carbon credits
  • Deforestation
  • Restoration
  • Climate change
  • Forests

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