Innovation Challenge 6: Sustainable management of Blue Carbon ecosystems

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The preservation, conservation and creation of marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds and saltmarshes, which remove and store ‘blue’ carbon from the atmosphere for decades to centuries, provides an important means of mitigating climate change for countries where such ecosystems cover a significant area. Blue carbon ecosystems also make an important contribution to the social and economic development of coastal communities, whose role in the in-situ preservation and conservation of blue carbon is substantial.

However, there are major uncertainties in quantifying the global extent of blue carbon ecosystems, little is known about non-conventional blue carbon habitats such as intertidal sand- and mudflats, kelp beds, shelf, slope and deep ocean sediments, and deep water refractory dissolved organic carbon, and understanding of how climate change influences carbon accumulation in mature and restored blue carbon ecosystems is still lacking. Reducing these uncertainties and knowledge gaps is important to inform valuation of blue carbon ecosystems and thus their inclusion in policy and management scenarios.

In addition to economic value, the social and cultural value of blue carbon ecosystems are important, including how blue carbon facilitates Nature’s Contribution to People and a range of Ecosystem Services in a variety of coastal-marine social-ecological systems. The assessment of current policy and management actions in terms of how well they enable the maintenance and development of the services provided by, and economic value of, blue carbon ecosystems including their use in accounts of natural capital, is important.

Why IMBeR can make a difference

IMBeR interdisciplinary expertise in coastal out to offshore environments 

IMBeR network – help to compare and join up global regional information

Extend IMBeR expertise in valuation and governance to blue carbon in these offshore stores

Priority research questions:

  • How does the ocean act as a sink for carbon and how might this change in a changing ocean?
  • What is the economic, social and cultural value of this ecosystem service?
  • How can we improve policy, management and governance approaches to prioritise and protect this offshore ecosystem service?
  • How can we include blue carbon in statutory monitoring initiatives and national inventories of sinks versus sources of CO2

Focused activity and outputs of the Blue Carbon Innovation Challenge

  1. Session 18: Beyond blue carbon: Ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches, at the 5th Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans (ECCWO-5) in Bergen, Norway, April 17-21 2023
  2. Foresight EuroMarine workshop was held in September 2021 on ‘Climate mitigation potential of the European shelf seabed: significance, risks, recoverability, value and management’
  3. Session proposal accepted for ASLO conference June 2021 ‘Blue Carbon science for a sustainable future‘
  4. Organise workshops and meetings 2022
  5. Publications
  6. Compilation / inventory of habitats, storage, fluxes etc. roadmap towards national determined contributions (NDCs) useful for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) etc.

Who is involved

Tiziana Luisetti
Co-chair
E-mail: tiziana.luisetti@cefas.co.uk
Web page: Link 

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, UK

Tiziana has over 10-years’ experience working on the economics of Blue Carbon, including in marine sediments. Her research extends from the economic valuation of Blue Carbon and marine sediments, to how these can be included in natural capital accounts

A’an Johan Wahyudi
Co-chair
E-mail: aanj001@brin.go.id
Web page: Link

Research Center for Oceanography, National Research and Innovation Agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Marine biogeochemistry, Ocean carbon cycle, Climate change, Ocean acidification, Deoxygenation, Source origin of organic matter, Food web biogeochemistry in marine system, Blue carbon and blue economy

Andrea Belgrano

E-mail: andrea.belgrano@slu.se
Web page: Link

Swedish University of  Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Marine Research and  Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment (SIME), University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Ecosystem-based management for marine fisheries, ocean governance sustainability and resilience

Thorsten Blenckner

E-mail: thorsten.blenckner@su.se
Web page: Link

Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden

Ecosystem processes and multiple stressors, Socio-ecological systems

Greg Cowie

E-mail: Dr.Greg.Cowie@ed.ac.uk
Web page: Link

University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Biogeochemistry; Organic geochemistry; Biomarker applications in modern and palaeoenvironmental settings; Natural and contaminant organic matter cycling and preservation in marine and terrestrial environments; Biogeochemistry of hypoxic environment: Indian Ocean processes; Peatland and riverine processes; Riverine and groundwater impacts on reef systems; Organic and isotope tracer studies.

GiHoon Hong

E-mail: ghong@sklec.ecnu.edu.cn

IMBeR IPO China

Marine biogeochemistry focusing on the behavior of radionuclides at sea and carbon cycles, and their application for addressing various emerging scientific and human needs in the world oceans

Narriman Jiddawi

E-mail: n_jiddawi@yahoo.com
Web page: 

Institute of Fisheries Research and other marine resources, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Socio-economics, governance issues, stakeholder empowerment

Joel Llopiz
CLIOTOP Representative 
E-mail: jllopiz@whoi.edu
Web page: Link

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA

@JoelLlopiz

Prateep Nayalk
V2V Global Partnership
E-mail: pnayak@uwaterloo.ca
Web page: Link

University of Waterloo. Waterloo, ON, Canada

Environmental Change; Coastal governance, Social-ecological systems; Marginalization, justice and power

Alice Newton

E-mail: anewton@ualg.pt
Web page: Link

Centre for Marine and Environmental Research, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

Eutrophication, assessment frameworks of marine social – ecological systems, Regional Seas Conventions, marine environmental policy implementation, marine biodiversity assessments, science communication

Ruth Parker

E-mail: Ruth.parker@cefas.co.uk
Web page: Link

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, UK

Ruth’s research is currently focused on understanding carbon and nutrient flows through the marine shelf ecosystem and how ecosystem-scale human activities and climate can affect or un-couple these flows. She recently led the ‘Blue Carbon’ components of several large interdisciplinary projects and is interested in determining the role of the shelf system in sequestering carbon, and how management measures and governance considerations might help protect existing stocks. She has co-convened international sessions on ‘Blue carbon management’ and been an invited speaker at various blue carbon meetings, including attending the International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group.

Tim Rixen

E-mail: Tim.Rixen@leibniz-zmt.de

Web page: Link

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Bremen, Germany

Biological carbon pump in coastal upwelling systems and its response to climate change and human impacts;  carbon cycles in tropical coastal ecosystems with a focus on tropical peatlands in SE Asia.

Carol Robinson

E-mail: Carol.Robinson@uea.ac.uk
Web page: Link

University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Microbial biogeochemistry