Quantification of blue carbon in seagrass ecosystems of Southeast Asia and their potential for climate change mitigation

Milica Stankovic, Rohani Ambo-Rappe, Filipo Carly, Floredel Dangan-Galon, Miguel D. Fortes, Mohammad Shawkat Hossain, Wawan Kiswara, Cao Van Luong, Phan Minh-Thu, Amrit Kumar Mishra, Thidarat Noiraksar, Nurjannah Nurdin, Janmanee Panyawai, Ekkalak Rattanachot, Mohammad Rozaimi, U. Soe Htun, Anchana Prathep
Type of Resource: 
Case Studies
Seagrass ecosystems are globally distributed covering the five important bioregions of the world oceans except for Antarctica (Hemminga and Duarte, 2000; Short et al., 2007; McKenzie et al., 2020). Seagrasses formcomplex interlinkagewith other coastal ecosystems that are important in maintaining awide range of ecological functions (Medina-Gomez et al., 2016; Mishra and Apte, 2020; United Nations Environment Programme, 2020) in the marine environment. Seagrasses provide 24 different types of ecosystem services (Nordlund et al., 2016), which include habitat and nurseries for commercially important fish population, various marine megafauna (Sueversm et al., 2019), and feeding and breeding habitats for endangered dugongs of the Indo-Pacific (D'Souza et al., 2015; Unsworth et al., 2018; Infantes et al., 2020). Other important ecosystem services include shoreline protection from storm surges and prevention of coastal erosion (Ondiviela et al., 2014; Potouroglou et al., 2017) which contribute towards climate change adaptation through the accretion of the sediments and seabed elevation. Furthermore, seagrass meadows contribute towards climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration and storage (Kennedy et al., 2010; Mcleod et al., 2011; Fourqurean et al., 2012; Lavery et al., 2013). Globally, seagrass meadows store up to 19.9 Pg of Corg (Fourqurean et al., 2012) and unlike terrestrial ecosystems, the Corg stored in sediments can stay trapped for centuries and/or millennia (Duarte et al., 2005; Macreadie et al., 2014). Through this ecosystem service, seagrass meadows contribute 10–18% of the total ocean oceanic carbon burial despite covering less than 0.1% of the total ocean floor (Duarte et al., 2005; Mcleod et al., 2011). Regardless of being among the most valuable ecosystems, they are drastically declining globally (Short et al., 2011) at the rate of 0.4–2.6% per year (Pendleton et al., 2012).