Nav: Home

Sequestering blue carbon through better management of coastal ecosystems

May 19, 2017

LOGAN,UTAH, USA -- Focusing on the management of carbon stores within vegetated coastal habitats provides an opportunity to mitigate some aspects of global warming. Trisha Atwood from Utah State University's Watershed Sciences Department of the Quinney College of Natural Resources and the Ecology Center has collaborated with several co-authors from Australia, including lead author Peter Macreadie from Deakin University, in an article published in the May 2017 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

"If we are going to fight off climate change not only do we need to cut CO2 emissions," Atwood states. "But we also need to protect and restore natural carbon sinks like coastal wetlands."

Although vegetated coastal ecosystems occupy only 0.2 percent of the ocean's surface, they play a disproportionately large role in the capture and retention of global carbon. As a result, bio sequestration in vegetated coastal habitats, a process that takes up atmospheric CO2 and stores it for millennia in marine soils (e.g. blue carbon), is emerging as one of the most effective methods for long-term carbon storage.

Researchers are learning how to increase the sequestration of the blue carbon. Historically, resource managers have relied on best-management practices to protect and restore vegetated coastal habitats. Researchers now theorize that incorporating catchment-level management strategies in addition to the preservation of shoreline vegetation can help keep global warming to under 2 degreesC. These highly productive vegetated coastal habitats, including seagrasses, tidal marshes and mangroves, provide the best opportunities to capture and retain marine-based carbon.

Three key environmental processes influence blue carbon sequestration: nutrient inputs, bioturbation and hydrology. When these processes are altered by human actions, such as eutrophication of coastal ecosystems, it can result in large amounts of CO2 and methane being released back into the atmosphere. Managing these three processes provides the best option to protect the carbon with its' long-term storage capacity.

"Wetlands have a tremendous capacity for storing carbon long-term," Atwood said. "This research highlights three ways in which we can protect and improve this capacity."

She and her co-authors demonstrate that these actions have the potential to profoundly alter rates of carbon accumulation and retention in vegetated coastal habitats around the globe.
-end-


Utah State University

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".