When carbon (namely as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas) is absorbed and stored by oceanic plants, it is called blue carbon. Mangrove forests, salt marshes, and seagrass beds are examples: as these habitats grow, they capture and store carbon as living plant material and in the sediment below them. This storage removes carbon from the atmosphere for years or decades, thus helping to counter the impacts of climate change. However, when the habitats are destroyed, much of their carbon is released back to the atmosphere and ocean, adding to the Earth's greenhouse gas load.
The following items provide a quick primer on the concept of blue carbon, methods for assessing its benefits, and how coastal and marine resource managers are working to capture it.
MPA News article
- How MPAs can help mitigate impacts of climate change via coastal blue carbon, “fish carbon”, and more