Coastal wetlands – mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrasses – are collectively known as ‘Blue Carbon’ ecosystems.
Through the natural process of biosequestration, they capture carbon 30-50 times faster than forests, which they lock away in the ground for millennial time-scales (ref). Given their ability to trap atmospheric CO2, they act as natural carbon sinks, help offset our emissions and contribute to fight climate change (ref).
When degraded, coastal wetlands stop capturing carbon and can become significant sources of greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide). In Australia, coastal wetlands are mainly threatened by adverse changes in land use and alternations to natural water flows.
Blue Carbon Systems can be rehabilitated by reducing negative external pressures (eg. nutrient runoff, cattle trampling) and restoring the water flow and vegetation. Best management practices are being designed to increase the carbon capture capacity of wetlands (ref).
At the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris (2015), Australia committed to accelerating action in the use of coastal Blue Carbon for climate change action. Several steps have been taken to set up a Blue Carbon market and allow Australians to capitalise from this nature-based approach to offset carbon emissions (ref).
FACTSHEETS, MANUALS & PDFS
*CLICK the arrows “>>” to access the links