Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Seagrass stores more carbon than forests - but they still can't match peatlands

A study has shown seagrass beds can store twice as much carbon as forests but that's still only a fraction found in peatlands.

Researches say the soil underneath endangered seagrass meadows - which cover less than one percent of the world's seas - contain 10 percent of all the carbon buried annually in our oceans.

This equates to around twice the amount of carbon found in the soils of the world's temperate and tropical forests.

By conserving and restoring our seagrass beds it is hoped we can enhance these carbon stores - further reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.

This is a really interesting piece of research and could offer a viable bio-geoengineering technique, with the added benefits associated with safeguarding such a rare ecosystem.

However, this highlights once again just how important the northern hemisphere's peatlands are, with their stores of carbon dwarfing both seagrass beds and forests.

Seagrass beds, according to the report published in Nature Geoscience, contain up to 19.9 Pg of carbon (one petagram, Pg, is equal to one billion metric tons), peatlands total at 455 Pg though is more than 20 times that amount.

Indeed, peatlands are the world's most important long term depository of carbon and have a direct effect on GHG levels and our planet's climate.

Proper management of our peatlands is clearly essential if we wish to maintain this carbon stock, but so too is further research into possible peatland bio-geoengineering projects to increase carbon sequestration.

More information on: Seagrass beds can store twice as much carbon as forests

No comments: