The mangrove forest covers around 75% of the tropical coastline. It has an ecological role because it protects the coastline from erosion, an economic role thanks to the fishing activity it hosts, and a sociological role for coastal populations. It also has an essential role in the carbon cycle due to its ability to transform the CO2 in the atmosphere into organic matter and store it in its soil full of water. However, a precise analysis of the mangrove forest's ecosystem has never been undertaken. Thus, the IRD has set itself the mission of preparing a complete analysis of the mangrove forest's carbon cycle in three regions with different climates and different levels of biodiversity.
Having set mangrove observatories in New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Vietnam, IRD is comparing these three regions and defining scenarios for a possible change in the mangrove's capacity to store greenhouse gases. To complete its work quantifying the carbon stored, IRD wants to:
IRD favors carbon 13 isotope analysis in the mangrove forest itself, as the carbon 13 concentration is a signature of the carbon's origin. This study begins in the mangrove forests of New Zealand, which have the unique characteristic of hosting just one species of tree and, contrary to the global trend, to be growing. The carbon 13 isotope analysis will also be carried out in New Caledonia and Vietnam.