Understanding the effects of seedling density on sediment accretion, biogeochemistry and belowground biomass in mangrove systems can help explain ecological functioning and inform appropriate planting densities during restoration or climate change mitigation programs. The objectives of this study were to examine: 1) impacts of mangrove seedling density on surface sediment accretion, texture, belowground biomass and biogeochemistry, and 2) origins of the carbon (C) supplied to the mangroves in Palakuda, Puttalam Lagoon, Sri Lanka. Rhizophora mucronata propagules were planted at densities of 6.96, 3.26, 1.93 and 0.95 seedlings m-2 along with an unplanted control (0 seedlings m-2). The highest seedling density generally had higher sediment accretion rates, finer sediments, higher belowground biomass, greatest number of fine roots and highest concentrations of C and N (and the lowest C/N ratio). Sediment accretion rates, belowground biomass (over 1370 days), and C and N concentrations differed significantly between seedling densities. Fine roots were significantly greater compared to medium and coarse roots across all plantation densities. Sulphur and carbon stable isotopes did not vary significantly between different density treatments. Isotope signatures suggest surface sediment C (to a depth of 1 cm) is not derived predominantly from the trees, but from seagrass adjacent to the site.
- Mangroves, Sediment nutrients, Accretion, Facilitation, Sri Lanka, Biogeochemistry, Belowground biomass, Stable isotopes, Carbon
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Environmental Science(all)