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Plant invasion threatens coastal blue carbon sequestration

Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel.), native to North America, was artificially introduced to China’s coast in 1979 for erosion control and shoreline protection. We still lack a mechanistic understanding of why soil carbon sequestration responds distinctly to cordgrass invasion in different coastal habitats. We found that soil organic carbon significantly accumulated in salt marshes but was lost in mangroves after the invasion, which can be well-explained by the pattern of organic matter decomposition. Our findings further emphasize the importance of interactions between climate, soil, and microbiota for stabilizing soil organic matter in coastal invaded wetlands.

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