State of the Science on Coastal Blue Carbon: A Summary for Policy Makers

Author(s): Samantha Sifleet, Linwood Pendleton, and Brian C. Murray

Published: May 2011

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Publication Type: Report

The natural science of blue carbon is evolving rapidly, and many policy makers remain uncertain about the biophysical potential of these habitats as engines of carbon storage. To better manage the ecosystem services provided by coastal blue carbon, we need a good scientific understanding of how coastal habitats sequester and store carbon, where on the planet carbon is stored in these habitats, how rapidly the habitats are being modified with a risk of carbon release into the atmosphere or water column, and the mechanisms and rate of carbon emissions that follow habitat conversion. This report examines the current science as it relates to these topics. In doing so, it aims to give policy makers a feel for what is known and unknown about coastal blue carbon.