Emergent patterns in nature and society

CI reports on seagrass importance as carbon storage

Conservation International made a comment on a recent study: Seagrass ecosystem as a globally significant carbon stock by Fourqureand and collaborators in Nature Geoscience.

According to the study, seagrass meadows store ninety percent of their carbon in the soil and continue to build on this for centuries. In the Mediterranean, which is the geographic region with the greatest concentration of carbon found from the study, seagrass meadows were found to store carbon in deposits many meters deep.

Seagrasses are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems. Roughly 29 percent of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, mainly due to dredging and degradation of water quality.   Furthermore, at least 1.5% of seagrass meadows are lost every year. This study estimates that emissions from destruction of seagrass meadows can potentially emit up to 25 percent as much carbon as from terrestrial deforestation.
“One remarkable thing about seagrass meadows is that, if restored, they can effectively and rapidly sequester carbon and reestablish lost carbon sinks,” said coauthor Karen McGlathery, Professor, University of Virginia.
Seagrasses have long been recognized for their many ecosystem benefits: they filter sediment from the oceans; they protect coastlines against floods and storms; and they serve as vital habitats for fisheries production.
A previous post relate seagrass with a possible regime shift given by increases in the herbivory composition when predators are exhausted by fisheries. Probably a new case for our database.

via First Global Study: Seagrasses Can Store as much Carbon as Forests – Conservation International.

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