Focal Areas

Blue Economy and Marine Ecosystem Services

To expand the ocean economy to create jobs and economic growth while achieving global targets set for ocean health, ocean policy must account for the value of the services dependent on marine ecosystems. The Ocean and Coastal Policy Program supports decision makers in exploring policies that better align ocean economic growth and health, identifying and securing financing for conservation of coastal habitats that sequester so-called blue carbon, and contributing to the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership.

Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership

The Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership works to help society identify and sustainably manage the globe’s ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of people and society. It strives to provide up-to-date, easily accessible data about human uses of marine ecosystem services across the globe for policy makers, environmental managers, researchers, and marine ecosystem stakeholders.

Coastal Blue Carbon

Coastal habitats store large amounts of carbon in their vegetation and soil; when disturbed, this stored carbon—known as coastal blue carbon—can be released in the form of greenhouse gases. Research at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions examines the economic and scientific challenges that need to be addressed to determine whether payments for blue carbon may one day help conserve mangroves, seagrass meadows, and salt marshes. Currently, the Nicholas Institute is working on financing mechanisms for preservation of west African mangroves and is identifying policies that can better align North Carolina’s economic growth and ocean health.

Deep Sea Management

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is working with collaborators on research that seeks to find a robust scientific foundation for deep-sea management. Currently, that research focuses on the fundamentals of deep-sea restoration and a comparative life-cycle analysis of deep-sea mining and terrestrial mining.