Exceptionally high mangrove root production rates in the Kelantan Delta, Malaysia; an experimental and comparative study

Siti mariam Muhammad nor, Mark Huxham, Yann Salmon, Symone Jade Duddy, Alban Mazars-Simon, Maurizio Mencuccini, Patrick Meir, Gail Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Mangroves often allocate a relatively large proportion of their total biomass production to their roots, and the belowground biomass of these forests contributes towards globally significant carbon sinks. However, little information is available on root production in mangroves due to the difficulties in carrying out measurements of belowground processes, particularly if there is regular flooding. In this study, we examined fine and coarse root production in the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. Ingrowth cores were used over the course of 17 months. In September 2014, twenty cores were randomly placed in each of five plots. Three cores were collected from each plot (fifteen cores in total), once every three months. Each core was divided into five 10 cm layers and root dry mass was recorded. Standing root biomass was also measured at the time of final collection using an additional 15 cores. There was a seasonal pattern in root production, which peaked in March and December 2015, after and during the monsoon season. Root biomass in the cores peaked at 33.23 ± 6.3 t ha−1 and 21.46 ± 7.3 t ha−1 in March and December respectively. Standing root biomass in February 2016 in the forest was 20.81 ± 2.8 t ha−1. After 17 months, the final root biomass in the cores was 14% less than the standing root biomass. These data suggest surprisingly rapid growth rates and turnover for mangrove roots. Total root biomass significantly increased with root depth and 78% of the roots, in all soil layers, consisted of fine roots (<3 mm diameter). Soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations were investigated in relation to belowground production, as were soil temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen. A data review of global studies reporting similar work was carried out. The results are discussed with consideration to the significance of monsoon rainfall for mangrove ecology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Early online date1 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


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