Fighting global warming with blue carbon

phys.org | 2/14/2019 | Staff
fofo (Posted by) Level 3
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Beneath the waters of Australia, plants are helping fight climate change.

Breathe deeply. All that lovely oxygen you're getting right now was recycled somewhere by plants (and plankton). But it's not just the land-based plants responsible for restoring Earth's oxygen supply—marine plants also play an important role.

Mangroves - Seagrasses - Inhabitants - Salt - Marshes

Mangroves, seagrasses and inhabitants of salt marshes are just some of the plants responsible for creating something called blue carbon. But this important part of underwater ecology looks more brown and green than a pretty aqua hue.

It works like this: marine plants capture carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, just like their terrestrial siblings. The plants transform the carbon into carbohydrates, which are then used by the plant to grow stems, leaves and flowers. When the plant dies, the carbon locked in its tissues is trapped, stored underground.

Mat - Vanderklift - Ecologist - CSIRO - Carbon

Mat Vanderklift, a marine ecologist at CSIRO, says because this trapped carbon is waterlogged, very little oxygen gets to it and it cannot decompose. The carbon can remain trapped much more efficiently than land-based carbon traps, like trees.

This removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising, causing global warming, and human-caused carbon dioxide is the largest contributor.

Australia - Countries - World - Carbon - Warming

Australia and many other countries around the world are looking at how we can harness blue carbon to help combat global warming.

Mat is researching how Australia can create a blue carbon economy.

Carbon - Economy - Model - Businesses - Wetlands

A blue carbon economy is a model where businesses can pay to support renewing wetlands and coasts to help prevent environmental damage. It can help make a business environmentally ethical and balance out its own carbon emissions. For certain businesses like fisheries, blue carbon economies can even help secure their future.

"In salt marshes, seagrasses and mangroves, the carbon is stored underground," Mat says.

Ecosystems

These marine ecosystems...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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