This paper summarises the key challenges to the development and replication of blue carbon projects and proposes specific comprehensive action. Many of the issues covered can apply equally to terrestrial carbon offset programmes and should be considered in that context.
Blue Carbon, i.e. the amount of carbon stored and sequestered in coastal habitats like mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass, is one of the most effective stores of carbon, up to five times more than terrestrial forests per hectare. There is great potential in preserving these coastal habitats and greater danger if we do not.
Mangroves offer protection against more frequent and stronger tropical storms. They support rich biodiversity in addition to being one of the most effective stores of carbon on this planet. Over a third of mangroves have been destroyed since 1980 to make charcoal, build houses, create aquaculture ponds and tourist infrastructure. This has released tens of millions of tonnes of carbon.
There is an urgent need to preserve the existing carbon stocks that would be released if the mangroves and other coastal habitats were destroyed. How can we accomplish this?