Australian vegetated coastal ecosystems as global hotspots for climate change mitigation

Oscar Serrano, Catherine E. Lovelock, Trisha B Atwood, Peter I. Macreadie, Robert Canto, Stuart Phinn, Ariane Arias-Ortiz, Le Bai, Jeff Baldock, Camila Bedulli, Paul Carnell, Rod M. Connolly, Paul Donaldson, Alba Esteban, Carolyn J. Ewers Lewis, Bradley D. Eyre, Matthew A. Hayes, Pierre Horwitz, Lindsay B. Hutley, Christopher R.J. Kavazos & 25 others Jeffrey J. Kelleway, Gary A. Kendrick, Kieryn Kilminster, Anna Lafratta, Shing Lee, Paul S. Lavery, Damien T. Maher, Núria Marbà, Pere Masque, Miguel A. Mateo, Richard Mount, Peter J. Ralph, Chris Roelfsema, Mohammad Rozaimi, Radhiyah Ruhon, Cristian Salinas, Jimena Samper-Villarreal, Jonathan Sanderman, Christian J Sanders, Isaac Santos, Chris Sharples, Andrew D.L. Steven, Toni Cannard, Stacey M. Trevathan-Tackett, Carlos M. Duarte

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Abstract

Policies aiming to preserve vegetated coastal ecosystems (VCE; tidal marshes, mangroves and seagrasses) to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions require national assessments of blue carbon resources. Here, we present organic carbon (C) storage in VCE across Australian climate regions and estimate potential annual CO2 emission benefits of VCE conservation and restoration. Australia contributes 5-11% of the C stored in VCE globally (70-185 Tg C in aboveground biomass, and 1,055-1,540 Tg C in the upper 1 m of soils). Potential CO2 emissions from current VCE losses are estimated at 2.1-3.1 Tg CO2-e yr-1, increasing annual CO2 emissions from land use change in Australia by 12-21%. This assessment, the most comprehensive for any nation to-date, demonstrates the potential of conservation and restoration of VCE to underpin national policy development for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalNature Communications
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

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