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The fingerprints of coastal carbon sinks- new technique to measure carbon in coastal wetlands

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November 1, 2017 American Society of Agronomy read full ScienceDaily article here

A new study highlights a technique that could be used to accurately measure levels of soil carbon in coastal carbon sinks, such as mangrove forests…

…In the past, researchers have used the technique — diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, or DRS — to measure carbon in dry soils. “Few studies have tested it in coastal wetland or mangrove soils” …

…Nóbrega and his colleagues tested DRS on soil samples from three mangrove forests in northeastern Brazil. They found that DRS may be a more accurate and efficient method compared to more conventional approaches to determine carbon levels in mangrove soils.

…Nóbrega hopes to build a library of soil reflectance fingerprints for mangrove soils throughout the world. He doesn’t want to stop with mangrove soils, though. “Ultimately, we want to expand to other coastal environments, such as saltmarshes, seagrasses, and tidal flats,” he says.

Eventually, it might be possible to equip a drone with the required sensors. “Then we could obtain vital information without disturbing sensitive ecosystems,” says Nóbrega. “We could monitor carbon levels in large, inaccessible areas.”

Danilo J. Romero, Gabriel N. Nóbrega, Xosé L. Otero, Tiago O. Ferreira. Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy (Vis-Nir-Swir) as a Promising Tool for Blue Carbon Quantification in Mangrove Soils: A Case of Study in Tropical Semiarid Climatic Conditions. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 2017; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2017.04.0135

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