Date: April 4, 2019
Participants: HSBC, Department of Conservation NZ
Site: Pt Chevalier, Auckland
Research: Quantifying Blue Carbon gains for mangrove expansion
Citizen Scientists take part in NZ coring campaign!
Auckland mangrove forests have expanded due to the high sediment load and low water flow within the bays. Although they are often seen like a nuisance, mangroves are Blue Carbon systems able to trap and store atmospheric carbon in their tissues and soil for millennia.
In collaboration with NIWA, and the University of Auckland, the Blue Carbon Lab was set to quantify how the expansion of these mangrove forests has changed (ie. increased) the ability of the coast to serve as a carbon sink.
Sampling took place at seven sites in the Auckland region where mangroves have been expanding at rates from 1 to 7 m per year (ie. Hobson Bay, Bayswater, Mangere, Whangateau, Weymouth-Pahurehure, Pt Chevalier, Mahurangi).
On this field trip, citizen scientists helped us collect measures at Pt Chevalier by surveying mangroves trees in 2m x 2m plots and collecting data on tree height, canopy size, root density, crab holes, etc… Participants were also trained to take deep soil cores (1 m deep) using a Piston corer. Soil samples will be analysed for carbon stocks and carbon accretion rates.
Some participants had the opportunity to help PhD Candidate Lukas Meysick collect data on mangrove seedlings. Specifically, they measured the force required to pull seedlings from the ground, to get an idea of their strength and adherence.
Data collection on the site was particularly challenging due to the soft mud and the low canopy of the trees. However, participants learned to wonder efficiently through the forest by balancing on top of the roots and holding tight to their gumboots!
Many thanks to all the HSBC staff that joined us on the day and the local scientists from NIWA who supported all the field operation!
*Photos courtesy of Helen Kettles (Department of Conservation NZ) and Maria Rojas (Earthwatch Australia).