Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Website Puts Spotlight on Blue Carbon

Plans for the new Blue Carbon Portal include the potential incorporation of Blue Climate Solutions' Blue Carbon Blog (this blog) - - -
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New Website Puts Spotlight on Blue Carbon

Information Portal Showcases Climate and Sustainable Development Role of Coastal Ecosystem
 
Mangroves forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs can be connected to each other through nutrient cycles, physical processes, plant and animal migration and human impact. Photo credit: GRID-Arendal/Jason Valdez (Marine Photobank)

Nairobi, 19 December 2012 - Marine ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and saltwater marshes, can capture and store a significant amount of atmospheric carbon. Yet the full potential of these "blue carbon" habitats to mitigate climate change remains relatively overlooked.

To improve understanding of blue carbon, and highlight innovative projects that support these critical ecosystems, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched 'The Blue Carbon Portal': http://bluecarbonportal.org
Co-managed by UNEP and its Norway-based collaborative centre GRID-Arendal, the portal is the world's premier comprehensive community-based website for all matters related to blue carbon. 

It aims to provide a dynamic platform to discuss blue carbon issues, illustrate blue carbon initiatives worldwide, and create a network for different projects to share information, ideas and resources.

Other features of the Blue Carbon Portal include:
  • Updated and archived blue carbon news; 
  • Global map utility illustrating blue carbon projects and initiatives; 
  • Expert blog;
  • Resources page for all blue carbon publications, presentations and videos; and
  • Calendar of blue carbon events.
 
In addition to their climate benefits, blue carbon ecosystems play a critical economic role, through the services they provide to coastal and island communities. These include nurseries for coastal fisheries, protection of shorelines, supporting of coastal tourism and cultural heritage, and the conservation of marine biodiversity.

Yet despite their major contribution to sustainable development, coastal ecosystems continue to be degraded or lost at an alarming rate. 

More than half of the world's original mangrove forest has disappeared, often due to the conversion of habitat for shrimp and fish aquaculture. Over-exploitation of wood products, urbanization, and diversion of fresh water flow are other major drivers or degradation. The annual global rate of mangrove loss is presently between 1 and 2 per cent.

Seagrass meadows are found on every continent except Antarctica, with a global area estimated to exceed 177,000 km2. This is a reduction of 30 per cent in the last 100 years, and the rate of loss is thought to have accelerated considerably in the past 40 years.
The new website is part of UNEP's Blue Carbon Initiative, which aims to develop a global partnership to advance the sound management of coastal and marine ecosystems in order to ensure that their carbon sequestration and storage functions are maintained, and emissions of greenhouse gases are avoided. 

To submit content to the site, please contact the portal administrator via links on provided at: http://bluecarbonportal.org

Story link: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2700&ArticleID=9362

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