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Seagrasses Can Store Twice as Much Carbon as Forests

Seagrasses Can Store Twice as Much Carbon as Forests

By Mat McDermott, TreeHugger

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this, but it is the first global analysis of how much carbon is stored by seagrasses: According to new research, published in Nature Geosciences, seagrasses can store up to twice as much carbon per square kilometer as above ground forests.

In terms of numbers, coastal seagrasses can store 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, versus 30,000 tons for a typical forest. Furthermore, though seagrasses occur in just 0.2% of the world’s oceans, they are responsible for storing over 10% of all the carbon buried annually in the ocean. 90% of the carbon storied by seagrasses is sequestered in the soil anchoring the grass, where it can form carbon stores several meters deep. In some cases these seagrass meadows have been accumulating carbon for thousands of years.

If you guessed there was a “seagrasses are threatened” angle in this, you’re right.

The paper finds that 29% of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, primarily due to dredging and water pollution, with 1.5% of seagrass meadows destroyed each year. Should this continue, the destruction of these meadows will result in carbon emissions one-quarter as great as deforestation.

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6:25AM PDT on May 15, 2013

amazing, thank you

10:45AM PST on Jan 25, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Fascinating and timely information, our seas, oceans...water has to be protected so that essential sea grasses and other life vital for the health of the planet continue to survive. So many entities such as coral reefs and others are facing destruction.

8:40AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

we need to do something about this now.

12:53AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Thanks for the information.

1:09PM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

I love nature and under water sea life.

8:46AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Very interesting and awfully disheartening to find that we are just as successfully destroying these sea grass meadows as we are deforesting the earth!

4:59PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

That's incredibly interesting.

2:11AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

This is why mapping the ocean depths is so valuable in establishing what has been destroyed and what needs to be replanted. Fortunately, scientific and ecological groups are advising authorities and many wetland groups are making repairs.
So many authorities unknowingly cause damage to our environment because they don't interact with environmentalists...

1:57PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

thanks for sharing this, the oceans and their inhabitants need to be protected, not destroyed

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