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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-166
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-166
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 26 Apr 2018

Submitted as: research article | 26 Apr 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Carbon Stocks and Accumulation Rates in Salt Marshes of the Pacific Coast of Canada

Stephen G. Chastain1, Karen Kohfeld1, and Marlow G. Pellatt1,2 Stephen G. Chastain et al.
  • 1Simon Fraser University School of Resource & Environmental Management, Burnaby, V5A 1S6, Canada
  • 2Parks Canada, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 6B4, Canada

Abstract. Tidal salt marshes are known to accumulate blue carbon at high rates relative to their surface area and have been put forth as a potential means for enhanced CO2 sequestration. However, estimates of salt marsh carbon accumulation rates are based on a limited number of marshes globally and the estimation of carbon accumulation rates require detailed dating to provide accurate estimates. We address one data gap along the Pacific Coast of Canada by estimating carbon stocks in 34 sediment cores and estimating carbon accumulation rates using 210Pb dating on four cores from seven salt marshes within the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (49.2° N, 125.80° W). Carbon stocks averaged 80.6 ± 43.8 megagrams of carbon per hectare (Mg C ha−1) between the seven salt marshes, and carbon accumulation rates averaged 146 ± 102 grams carbon per square meter per year (g C m−2 yr−1). These rates are comparable to those found in salt marshes further south along the Pacific coast of North America (32.5–38.2° N) and at similar latitudes in Eastern Canada and Northern Europe (43.6–55.5° N). The seven Clayoquot Sound salt marshes currently accumulate carbon at a rate of 54.28 Mg C yr−1 over an area of 46.94 ha, 87 % of which occurs in the high marsh zone. On a per-hectare basis, Clayoquot Sound salt marsh soils accumulate carbon at least one order of magnitude more quickly than the average of global boreal forest soils, and approximately two times larger than rates for forests in British Columbia. However, because of their relatively small area, we suggest that their carbon accumulation rate capacity could best be considered as a climate mitigation co-benefit when conserving for other salt marsh ecosystem services.

Stephen G. Chastain et al.
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Interactive discussion
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Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Stephen G. Chastain et al.
Stephen G. Chastain et al.
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We generated estimates of carbon stocks and accumulation rates in soils of salt marshes from Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Canada. Following established methodologies, we sampled seven sites to generate a regional average estimate and compared it with global marsh carbon data. Our results show the marshes as highly efficient carbon accumulation hotspots, comparable with those from elsewhere on the NE Pacific coast or similar latitude ranges.
We generated estimates of carbon stocks and accumulation rates in soils of salt marshes from...
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