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October 24, 2021

NC’s Salt Marshes Hold 64 Million Tons of Carbon Dioxide. What Happens if They Die?

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

The North Carolina coast's 220,000 acres of salt marsh are holding about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide, according to researchers from Duke University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But as the world continues to warm and sea levels rise, salt marshes and seagrass are likely to drown or be washed away, transforming them from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

Lydia Olander and Katie Warnell, both of the Nicholas Institute's Ecosystem Services Program, spoke to The News & Observer about how sea level rise is affecting the state's salt marshes and the importance of this habitat as a tool in efforts to fight climate change. The story is part of "Rising Tides, Sinking Future," a special report from McClatchy.