Coastal blue carbon ecosystems - mangroves, seagrass meadows, tidal salt marshes - mitigate the effects of climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and ocean.
The Blue Carbon Initiative (co-organized by IOC, Conservation International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature) has produced tools for scientists and coastal managers to measure carbon stocks in coastal and marine ecosystems. The IOC is also supporting capacity building at the regional level to ensure coastal blue carbon stocks are well managed and integrated into coastal planning processes.
The Blue Carbon Data and Knowledge Network was established to act as an international resource that meets the increasing need for data sharing among blue carbon stakeholders for purposes ranging from basic research to policy development and management.
Mangroves are known to sequester carbon at 100 times higher rates, per unit area, than terrestrial forests. Of the carbon stored within coastal blue carbon ecosystems, 50% to 99% is located below the ground. Degrading, destroying, or converting these habitats exposes these large underground stores of carbon and releases significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and the ocean.