Last updated:
April 11, 2024

Blue Carbon

What is Blue Carbon?

Blue carbon refers to carbon captured by the world’s oceanic and coastal ecosystems, including mangroves, salt marshes, seagrasses, and kelp forests. These ecosystems are highly efficient at absorbing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, often at a faster rate than land-based forests. The concept of blue carbon highlights the critical role that marine and coastal ecosystems play in mitigating climate change, making the conservation and restoration of these habitats essential.

Examples of Blue Carbon Projects

  • ALLCOT's ABC Mangrove Restoration project in Senegal focuses on combating climate change by restoring mangrove ecosystems. This 30-year initiative collaborates with local communities for environmental restoration, social empowerment, and economic improvement. The ABC Mangrove Restoration project has reforested 7000 Ha of mangrove, and has uplifted 15 villages by involving them in their work.

Types of Blue Carbon Projects

Blue carbon projects can be broadly categorised based on the type of ecosystem they focus on:

  • Mangrove Restoration and Conservation: Mangroves are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics, with a unique ability to store carbon both above and below ground in their biomass and the sediment beneath them. Projects in this category aim to restore mangrove forests that have been lost or degraded, while also protecting existing mangroves.
  • Salt Marsh Restoration and Conservation: Salt marshes are highly productive ecosystems found in temperate zones that sequester carbon in their plant biomass and the sediment. Restoration projects often involve re-establishing tidal flows to degraded marshes, while conservation efforts focus on protecting these areas from development and pollution.
  • Seagrass Meadow Restoration and Conservation: Seagrass meadows are efficient at sequestering carbon in their sediments. Projects aimed at these ecosystems often involve planting seagrasses or protecting meadows from threats like anchoring, dredging, and nutrient runoff, which can lead to loss of seagrass habitat.
  • Kelp Forest Restoration and Conservation: Kelp forests are underwater areas with a high density of kelp, which is large brown algae found in temperate coastal regions around the world. Kelp is known for its rapid growth rate and ability to sequester carbon dioxide as it grows. Restoration projects may include the reseeding of kelp in areas where populations have declined due to factors like pollution, climate change, and overfishing. Conservation efforts focus on maintaining the health of these underwater forests to ensure their continued ability to act as carbon sinks.

Environmental and Climate Benefits

In addition to their role in carbon sequestration, blue carbon ecosystems provide a range of other environmental benefits. They protect coastlines from erosion and storm surges, support marine biodiversity by providing habitat for a wide variety of marine life, and improve water quality by filtering pollutants. Protecting and restoring these ecosystems not only helps in the fight against climate change but also preserves the health and productivity of coastal and marine environments.

The Role of Blue Carbon Projects in Achieving Net Zero Emissions

For businesses and countries aiming to achieve net zero emissions, investing in blue carbon projects offers a pathway to neutralise emissions through natural climate solutions. As part of a comprehensive climate strategy, blue carbon projects not only contribute to global climate goals but also support biodiversity conservation, resilience to climate impacts, and sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities.

Project portfolio mix

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