CARBON SQUESTRATION POTENTIAL OF SANDSPIT BACKWATER MANGROVE AND SEDIMENT, PAKISTAN
The main objective of the study was to evaluate the potential of mangroves to sequester carbon. This study was carried out in Sandspit mangrove forest which is covered by the monospecifc stands of Avicennia marina (density 3895 plants ha-1 and basal area 6.59 m2 ha-1). The C-stocks of above-ground and root biomass were 93.33 ± 2.60 t C ha-1 and 39 ± 4.50 t C ha-1, respectively, while the C-stock in sediment was estimated to be 51.66±3.92 t C ha-1. The estimates of mean combined C-stocks in the mangrove biomass and sediment of Sandspit backwater showed that this estuarine mangrove wetland stored 183.99±11.02 t C ha-1, equivalent to 675.24 t CO2 ha-1. The mangroves with basal area of 6.59 m2 ha-1, is assumed to have a potential to sequester and store a substantial quantity of 1212.49 t C which is equivalent to 2478.13 t CO2. This value suggests that natural mangrove forest has a potential to sequester and store substantial amounts of atmospheric carbon, hence need for sustainable management and protection of this important coastal ecosystem.