Mangroves provide blue carbon ecological value at a low freshwater cost

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



“Blue carbon” wetland vegetation has a limited freshwater requirement. One type, mangroves, utilizes less freshwater during transpiration than adjacent terrestrial ecoregions, equating to only 43% (average) to 57% (potential) of evapotranspiration (ET). Here, we demonstrate that comparative consumptive water use by mangrove vegetation is as much as 2905 kL H2O ha−1 year−1 less than adjacent ecoregions with Ec-to-ET ratios of 47–70%. Lower porewater salinity would, however, increase mangrove Ec-to-ET ratios by affecting leaf-, tree-, and stand-level eco-physiological controls on transpiration. Restricted water use is also additive to other ecosystem services provided by mangroves, such as high carbon sequestration, coastal protection and support of biodiversity within estuarine and marine environments. Low freshwater demand enables mangroves to sustain ecological values of connected estuarine ecosystems with future reductions in freshwater while not competing with the freshwater needs of humans. Conservative water use may also be a characteristic of other emergent blue carbon wetlands.


Original languageEnglish
Article number17636
Number of pages12
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85140218558
WOS 000871116800037
PubMed 36271232
Mendeley da1d6aa8-a7a9-39c3-9736-71f057ec6308
unpaywall 10.1038/s41598-022-21514-8
ORCID /0000-0001-6920-136X/work/142247181



  • Trees, Forests, Hydraulic architecture, Sap flow, Use efficiency, Evapotranspiration, Xylem sap, Avicennia-marina, Systems, Salinity, Water, Humans, Carbon Sequestration, Carbon, Wetlands, Ecosystem, Fresh Water