An overlooked soil carbon pool in vegetated coastal ecosystems: National-scale assessment of soil organic carbon stocks in coastal shelter forests of China.

Abstract
Protection and restoration of vegetated coastal ecosystems provide opportunities to mitigate climate change. Coastal shelter forests as one of vegetated coastal ecosystems play vital role on sandy coasts protection, but less attention is paid on their soil organic carbon (OC) sequestration potential. Here, we provide the first national-scale assessment of the soil OC stocks, fractions, sources and accumulation rates from 48 sites of shelter forests and 74 sites of sandy beaches across 22° of latitude in China. We find that, compared with sandy beaches, shelter forest plantation achieves an average soil desalination rate of 92.0 % and reduces the soil pH by 1.3 units. The improved soil quality can facilitate OC sequestration leading to an increase of soil OC stock of 11.8 (0.60–64.2) MgC ha−1 in shelter forests. Particulate OC (POC) is a dominant OC fraction in both sandy beaches and shelter forests, but most sites are >80 % in shelter forests. The low δ13C values and higher C:N ratios, which are more regulated by climate and tree species, together with high POC proportions suggest a substantial contribution of plant-derived OC. Bayesian mixing model indicates that 71.8 (33.5–91.6)% of the soil OC is derived from local plant biomass. We estimate that soil OC stocks in Chinese shelter forests are 20.5 (7.44–79.7) MgC ha−1 and 4.53 ± 0.71 TgC in the top meter, with an accumulation rate of 45.0 (6.90 to 194.1) gC m−2 year−1 and 99.5 ± 44.9 GgC year−1. According to coastal shelter forest afforestation plan, additional 1.72 ± 0.27 TgC with a rate of 37.9 ± 17.1 GgC year−1 can be sequestrated in the future. Our findings suggest that construction of coastal shelter forests can be an effective solution to sequester more soil carbon in coastal ecosystems.

Citation
Li, Y., Fu, C., Wang, W., Zeng, L., Tu, C., & Luo, Y. (2023). An overlooked soil carbon pool in vegetated coastal ecosystems: National-scale assessment of soil organic carbon stocks in coastal shelter forests of China. Science of The Total Environment, 162823. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162823

Acknowledgements
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (42141014, 41701263, 42007022 and 41991330) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2021T140682).

Publisher
Elsevier BV

Journal
The Science of the total environment

DOI
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162823

PubMed ID
36921854

Additional Links
https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0048969723014390

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