Blue carbon: how much degradation and CO2 emission?

83% of the global carbon cycle is circulated through the ocean. Hence the term ‘Blue Carbon’ was first coined a decade ago to describe the disproportionately large CO2 contribution of coastal ecosystems.

This data-file illustrates the outsized contribution of blue carbon ecosystems in the carbon cycle, quantifying the area of land that is still covered by mangroves, tidal marshes, sea grasses and peat bogs; its typical CO2 absorption and CO2 density; and its rate of degradation, which releases CO2.

The CO2 still being lost each year from these water-based eco-systems  is enormous, on a par with emissions from the entire EU, or India, or the entire global cement industry. Blue carbon also has extra importance combatting sea level rises. Full details are in the data-file.

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