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Abstract Detail

Climate Change Solutions from Plant Science: The Interaction at the Interface between Terrestrial Ecosystems and Coastal Ecosystems for Carbon Storage

Thorhaug, Anitra [1].

Introduction: Fringe Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in Gulf of MExico and Eastern Atlantic Coast of USA -Implications for Mitigating Climate Change.

North American hotspots for blue carbon sequestration include estuaries on the East Coast of USA/Canada, Gulf of Mexico, and territories of USA in Caribbean together containing 94% of sequestered blue carbon. This area is being degraded by coastal resources decimation and extraction. Although the spatial extent of the plant habitat coastal regions are small compared to terrestrial forests, their extremely high productivity creates a high organic carbon standing sedimentary stock, especially in the tropics/subtropics. How much of this high primary productivity and sequestration is due to fertilization from terrestrially-sourced nutrients through river run off? The amount of carbon dioxide sequestered from both air and seawater is substantial, making blue carbon habitats important in scrubbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for Climate Change mitigation. Mitigated plants sequester more carbon especially seagrasses. Losses of blue carbon habitat and sequestration to anthropogenic development and environmental degradation forces are occurring simultaneously with the high carbon sequestration rates, but to date these opposing forces have not been calculated with sufficient precision. This symposium will attempt to develop overall estimates for the amount of potential USA Atlantic/GOM blue carbon sequestration compared to needs for climate change mitigation. Rivers draining the central plains to the Rockie mountains enter the GOM, as well as Mexican drainage basins from the Sierra Gordos mountains. The short clastic rivers in Central and South florida have differing Carbon flux from the northern Florida rivers draining the Appalachian Moutains as in the Alabama and East coast rivers. Meanwhile within the estuaries, high productivity occurs in situ on top of the background influx. The sum of these may reach the oceanic shelf transformed or in normal form, although sums sequestered finally vs. temporarily until major storm events occur are presently unclear. Adequate data is lacking to make wise decisions concerning blue carbon mitigation via carbon sequestration by Blue Carbon plants such as mangroves, marshes, seagrasses and riparian forests.. Lack of data for decision-making is especially absent as we consider possible conservation and mitigation measures in regard to climate change solutions. Climate change effects on these habitats includes sea level rise, acidification, increase in temperature, and other problems. This symposium will inform botanists about an emerging field of botany, that of Carbon cycling linking terrestrially-derived and estuarine-derived to oceanic carbon from foundation habitat plant ecosystems.

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1 - Yale University , School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 390 Prospect , new Haven , CT , 00561, USA

blue carbon
riparian forests
carbon flux
Carbon sequestration 
estuarine carbon
oceanic carbon.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY10, Climate Change Solutions from Plant Science: The Interaction at the Interface between Terrestrial Ecosystems and Coastal Ecosystems for Carbon Storage
Location: Chatham Ballroom - B/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: SY10001
Abstract ID:511
Candidate for Awards:None

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