Mangroves save us. (If we save them.)

Nature reports on a hidden side of wetlands conservation, with the discovery that those snorkel-rooted mangrove trees – which are getting pretty scarce most places – are really good at sucking back greenhouse gases:

Cutting down mangrove forests, which occupy less than 1% of tropical forest area, could therefore contribute up to 10% of global carbon emissions from deforestation.

J. Boone Kauffman, an ecologist at the Northern Research Station of the US Forest Service in Durham, New Hampshire, and his team… assessed above-ground and below-ground carbon pools in mangrove sites occupying estuaries and oceanic settings, such as island coasts. They found that these forests hold much more carbon than do boreal, temperate or tropical upland forests — especially in an organic-rich ‘muck layer’ of soil more than 30 centimetres below the surface.