UNEP Launches the Blue Carbon Portal
“Blue carbon” habitats are marine ecosystems that can capture and store a significant amount of atmospheric carbon. Some examples of blue carbon ecosystems are mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and intertidal saltmarshes. These ecosystems have great potential to mitigate climate change and play a critical economic role through the services they provide coastal and island communities. Some examples of these services are nurseries for fisheries, protection of shorelines, supporting coastal tourism, and the conservation of marine biodiversity.
Despite their contribution to climate mitigation and sustainable development of communities, these blue carbon habitats are being degraded and lost at an alarming rate. Over half of the world’s mangrove forests are now gone, and there has been a reduction of 30 percent of the world’s seagrass meadows over the last 100 years.
UNEP and its Norway-based collaborative centre GRID-Arendal have launched ‘The Blue Carbon Portal’ to improve understanding of blue carbon, highlight innovative projects supporting these critical ecosystems, and further examine the potential of blue carbon in mitigating climate change. The Blue Carbon Portal is part of UNEP’s Blue Carbon Initiative, which aims to develop a global partnership to advance the sound management of coastal and marine ecosystems in order to ensure their carbon sequestration and storage functions are maintained and avoid greenhouse gas emissions. The portal is designed to provide a dynamic platform to discuss blue carbon issues and create a network for different projects to share information, ideas, and resources.