The significance of aquatic lateral carbon (C) export in mangrove ecosystems highlights the extensive contribution of aquatic pathways to the net ecosystem carbon budget. However, few studies have investigated lateral fluxes of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and inorganic carbon (DIC), partly due to methodological difficulty. Therefore, we evaluated area-based lateral C fluxes in a small mangrove estuary that only had one exit for water exchange to the coast. We sampled water from the mouth of the creek and integrated discharge and consecutive concentration of mangrove-derived C (∆C). Then, we estimated the area-normalized C fluxes based on the inundated mangrove area. DIC and DOC concentrations at the river mouth increased during ebb tide during both summer and winter. We quantified the ∆C in the estuary using a two-component conservative mixing model of freshwater and seawater. DIC and DOC proportions of ∆C concentrations at the river mouth during ebb tide was between 34% and 56% in the winter and 26% and 42% in the summer, respectively. DIC and DOC fluxes from the estuary were estimated to be 1.36 g C m−2 d−1 and 0.20 g C m−2 d−1 in the winter and 3.35 g C m−2 d−1 and 0.86 g C m−2 d−1 in the summer, respectively. Based on our method, daily fluxes are mangrove area-based DIC and DOC lateral exports that can be directly incorporated into the mangrove carbon budget.
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