Mangrove conservation is 'economic' CO2 fix
Carbon credit schemes already exist for rainforests; the new work suggests mangroves could be included too.
But other researchers say the economics depend on the global carbon price.
Presenting their results in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the US-based team emphasises that protecting mangroves has important benefits for wildlife as well.
Mangrove habitats comprise less than 1% of all forest areas across the world.
But for the biodiversity they support, and the benefits they bring to communities in the form of fishing habitats and storm protection barriers, they are extremely important.
They are also being lost at a greater rate than tropical rainforests.
Similar to rainforests, they store carbon within their "biomass", which is released when the habitat is destroyed.
Their ability to capture carbon may be on average five times that of tropical rainforests, so they have become of interest to carbon-focused conservation strategists.
Now, Dr Juha Siikamaki of the think tank Resources for the Future and his US colleagues have shown that protecting mangroves and thereby reducing the amount of CO2 released may be an affordable way for countries to mitigate their carbon emissions.