Seagrass—secret weapon in the fight against global heating

The United Nations Environment Programme
November 1, 2019


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One of the most threatened yet overlooked ecosystems on Earth, seagrass could have a promising future thanks to its ability to absorb carbon.

[…] Seagrass accounts for 10 per cent of the ocean’s capacity to store carbon—so-called “blue carbon”—despite occupying only 0.2 per cent of the sea floor, and it can capture carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.

According to The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: 5 Opportunities for Action, published by the World Resources Institute, while the mitigation potential per unit area of restoring seagrasses is relatively high, though not as high as for restoring saltmarshes or mangroves, the mitigation potential of seagrass conservation is exceptionally high, and much higher than that of saltmarshes and mangroves.

“Seagrass meadows are rapidly disappearing in many parts of the world,” he adds. “The impact of the one billion or more people who live within 50 km of them is largely the cause, including damage from coastal development and degraded water quality from nutrient pollution. Annual rates of decline have accelerated, with loss rates comparable to those of coral reefs and tropical rainforests.”

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