Stephen Crooks (ESA Phillip Williams & Associates, USA)
Luis Valdés (Ocean Science Section, IOC-UNESCO)
Margareth Copertino (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil)
Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CMEs) - such as mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows - mitigate the effects of climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and oceans. CMEs also sequester carbon at significantly higher rates than terrestrial forests and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests. Some of this excess carbon is exported and subsidises adjacent ecosystems, including open ocean and beach ecosystems. The remaining excess production of CMEs is buried in the sediments, where it can remain stored over millenary time scales, thereby representing a strong natural carbon sink. In addition to burying a fraction of their own production, blue carbon sinks reduce flow, turbulence and attenuate wave action, thereby promoting sedimentation and reducing sediment resuspension, and providing a natural protection from storms and sea level rise, shoreline erosion, etc. This session will combine recent results on blue carbon and other ocean carbon sinks with a social science approach towards the prevention of CMEs degradation caused by land-based activities.