Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fish Carbon

Researchers from VIMS and Rutgers University have published on the potentially significant role fish may play in the marine carbon cycle, through the production of carbon-rich fecal pellets (fish poo) which rapidly sink to the seafloor, sequestering carbon and thereby mitigating climate change on potentially millennial timescales.

Study shows small fish can play a big role in coastal carbon cycle

Fish Fecal Pellets - These are example of fish fecal pellets analyzed during the study. Image courtesy Dr. Grace Saba, Rutgers IMCS.

10-Oct-2012 / Virginia Institute of Marine Science

A study in the current issue of Scientific Reports, a new online journal from the Nature Publishing Group, shows that small forage fish like anchovies can play an important role in the "biological pump," the process by which marine life transports carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and surface ocean into the deep sea—where it contributes nothing to current global warming.

The study, by Dr. Grace Saba of Rutgers University and professor Deborah Steinberg of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, reports on data collected during an oceanographic expedition to the California coast during Saba's graduate studies at VIMS. Saba, now a post-doctoral researcher in Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Research, earned her Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary's School of Marine Science at VIMS in 2009. The expedition, aboard the research vessel Point Sur, was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The study's focus on fish is a departure for Steinberg and colleagues in her Zooplankton Ecology Lab, who typically study tiny crustaceans called copepods. Research by Steinberg's team during the last two decades has revealed that copepods and other small, drifting marine animals play a key role in the biological pump by grazing on photosynthetic algae near the sea surface, then releasing the carbon they've ingested as "fecal pellets" that can rapidly sink to the deep ocean. The algal cells are themselves generally too small and light to sink.

"'Fecal pellet' is the scientific term for "poop," laughs Steinberg. "Previous studies in our lab and by other researchers show that zooplankton fecal pellets can sink at rates of hundreds to thousands of feet per day, providing an efficient means of moving carbon to depth. But there have been few studies of fecal pellets from fish, thus the impetus for our project."

Prey Composition - Copepod body parts are visible within the fish fecal pellet: 1, swimming leg; 2, antenna; 3, furcal rami. Image courtesy Dr. Grace Saba, Rutgers IMCS.

Saba says, "We collected fecal pellets produced by northern anchovies, a forage fish, in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of southern California." She determined that sinking rates for the anchovies' fecal pellets average around 2,500 feet per day, extrapolating from the time required for pellets to descend through a cylinder of water during experiments in the shipboard lab.

At that rate, says Saba, "pellets produced at the surface would travel the 1,600 feet to the seafloor at our study site in less than a day."

Saba and Steinberg also counted the pellets' abundance—up to 6 per cubic meter of seawater, measured their carbon content—an average of 22 micrograms per pellet, and painstakingly identified their partly digested contents—mostly single-celled algae like dinoflagellates and diatoms.

"Twenty micrograms of carbon might not seem like much," says Steinberg, "but when you multiply that by the high numbers of forage fish and fecal pellets that can occur within nutrient-rich coastal zones, the numbers can really add up."

Saba and Steinberg calculate that the total "downward flux" of carbon within fish fecal pellets at their study site reached a maximum of 251 milligrams per square meter per day—equal to or greater than previously measured values of sinking organic matter collected by suspended "sediment traps."

"Our findings show that—given the right conditions—fish fecal pellets can transport significant amounts of repackaged surface material to depth, and do so relatively quickly," says Saba.

Those conditions are likely to occur in places like the western coasts of North and South America, where ocean currents impinge on continental shelves, bringing cold, nutrient-rich waters from depth into the sunlit surface zone.

Original story:

Related articles:

Fish Poop May Play Critical Role In Oceans’ Carbon Cycle (

Pelagic fish can help mitigate global warming: study (

Anchovy Poop Does Its Part to Keep Climate Change At Bay (

Study: Anchovies can help eliminate CO2 (

From Plankton to Planet - Steinberg's research helps reveal ocean’s role in global warming (

Reference: Saba, G.K. & D.K. Steinberg. Abundance, Composition, and Sinking Rates of Fish Fecal Pellets in the Santa Barbara Channel. Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 716. doi:10.1038/srep00716

Link to journal article:

Conference: Blue Carbon in Coastal Community Development

A blue carbon conference, hosted by Counterpart International, will take place at Washington D.C. tomorrow, Friday 12th, 2012.
Counterpart International's Conference on Coastal Community Development
Counterpart International | Arlington, USA, Mar 6th, 2012 | story provided by Lauren Oschman

Counterpart International to announce climate-related “blue carbon” findings from the Dominican Republic
Arlington, Va. — Counterpart International will host a conference on Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C., to release preliminary findings of a major study on “blue carbon” in the Dominican Republic, as well as a discussion linking the need to engage coastal communities in the climate change process. It is open to the public.
Distinguished ecologist and professor from Oregon State University Dr. Boone Kauffman will present the preliminary findings based on a recent research trip to the Dominican Republic. Kauffman is the author of newly approved market standards for blue carbon, which will open the door for increased private investment in wetland restoration and conservation projects through the issuance of internationally recognized carbon credits.
His findings, along with the work of Counterpart and its partners, could pave the way for making Blue Carbon sequestration a powerful tool for reducing climate change, supporting sustainable coastal communities and protecting coastal ecosystems,” says Joan Parker, Ph.D., President and CEO of the nonprofit Counterpart.
Blue carbon is a natural process by which marine plants capture carbon emissions from the atmosphere and store it for millennia in the sediment. Though mangroves and sea grasses are among the most carbon-rich sites in the world, they are also some of the fastest disappearing ecosystems on the planet.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 12
TIME: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
WHERE: Capital Hilton Hotel, 1001 16th St, NW, Washington, D.C.
INFORMATION: Registration is required. Please contact Lauren Oschman, loschman (at) Tel. (703) 236‑1200

- Posted by Sven Stadtmann, GRID-Arendal

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blue Ventures in Madagascar, Pt. 3

The final episode of our three-volume featured series about Blue Ventures blue carbon activities in Madagascar.

A Message from Madagascar's Largest Mangrove Forest
Blue Ventures | Madagascar, Sep 5th, 2012 | by Trevor Jones

Greetings from Mahajamba bay, home of Madagascar’s largest mangrove ecosystem. The Blue Ventures Blue Forests team has been stationed here since early August conducting a month long field campaign.

A rather impressive view of the mangroves in Mahajamba bay

Hosted by and working closely with the aquaculture firm Aqualma, our biomass scientists have been establishing field plots to inventory carbon stocks, guided by a preliminary survey in which ecological variability was determined in June. To do this, the Blue Forests team must stare down the usual array of challenges, notably without complaint, including crawling through waist deep mud for hundreds of metres, traversing extensive mudflats, or “tannes”, which can reach 10 km in length, battling the seasonal “varatraza” winds while crossing the massive bay, and contending with exceptionally bountiful and ever-hungry populations of mosquitoes, which are in fact so bountiful that the name of one nearby village, ‘Bealoy’, literally translates to ‘too many mosquitoes’

Aerial view of mangroves in Mahajamba bay featuring massive mudflats (known as "tannes")

The Blue Forests team aims to sample a comprehensive representation of variability in the above and below ground carbon stocks of mangrove trees and soil, and areas that were once/could transition into mangrove habitats. We also are striving to thoroughly document the dynamics between mangroves and their surroundings, both human and natural. Our area of investigation is simply immense; travel times to and between sampling sites are measured in not minutes, but hours, and measuring carbon is an inherently laborious task. However, impressively, nearly 60 plots have been established in just 18 field days.

An aerial view of dwellings n the mangroves (look closely!)

Out of the mud, the socio-economic crew has been hard at work visiting communities adjacent to the bay. They have successfully conducted numerous workshops and focus groups, yielding detailed information on the historical and contemporary relationships between these communities and mangroves. The scope of ground to be covered was daunting, but we now have a wealth of relevant socio-economic information, which acts as a timeline of human interaction and resource-use, and helps determine the ramifications of changes to these relationships.

Through the collective observations of the Blue Forests team, it is clear that widespread human-caused degradation and deforestation is not nearly as prevalent as elsewhere in the country (such as in Ambaro and Ambanja Bays); however, analysis of satellite imagery, contextualized by field observations and socio-economic research, reveals an acceleration in mangrove degradation and loss within the past 10-15 years. The primary human-related contribution is increased large-scale timber extraction for commercial sale and exportation. To a comparatively lesser degree, small-scale resource extraction for traditional uses, such as dwelling construction, is also responsible for widespread yet low-impact degradation. The impact of natural processes and phenomena, particularly die-off due to cyclones and increased erosion and sediment deposition, is also evident.

The team are joined by a rather handsome visitor

The estimated 26,000 hectares of mangroves in Mahajamba Bay not only store a tremendous amount of “blue carbon”, but also provide crucial resources to communities and provide homes to a diverse range of unique, and in certain instances threatened, flora and fauna. Surrounding terrestrial and other marine ecosystems, which are inextricably linked with the mangroves, are equally important to the long-term future of the area and its residents. Owing to the relatively sparse human population in and around the bay, Mahajamba’s mangroves currently remain largely intact, but as population continues to grow, pressures on mangroves and all ecosystem types in and around the bay are likely to increase. Notably, declines in fish and shrimp catches have already been witnessed by local fishing communities, and the degradation of terrestrial forests is apparent.

Another colourful observer of the Blue Forests team's work

With a mandate to represent the highest standard in responsible aquaculture practices, and place acute attention on environmental and social impacts in and around their facilities, Aqualma recognizes the importance of working hand-in-hand with community members to safeguard Mahajamba Bay’s collective ecological integrity. Given their potential footprint and influence, Blue Ventures’ partnership with Aqualma is critical for effectively developing and implementing viable long-term strategies. In addition to Aqualma’s support, encouragingly, community leaders seem aware of the issues at hand and acknowledge the risks associated with over-exploitation. However, given the lack of close proximity to heavily overexploited areas, it is likely that to many residents, the vast mangrove forests seem misleadingly inexhaustible.

Together with Aqualma, we must continue to work towards empowering vulnerable coastal communities with the knowledge to conserve, restore, and plan the long-term use of mangrove and adjacent resources, which in turn will help secure critical ecological services and protect flora and fauna.

Coquerel's Sifka (Propithecus coquereli). On the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species and found in the terrestrial forest surrounding the mangroves

In the coming months, after having completed four month-long field campaigns in 2012, the Blue Forests team will be piecing together a huge array of data sets. The results of our analyses are expected to yield an unprecedented collection of information regarding the carbon stocks, dynamics, and underlying drivers of change for Madagascar’s two largest mangrove ecosystems. This will ultimately allow us to assess the feasibility of and implement (as deemed suitable) payments for ecosystem services (PES) and carbon financing mechanisms, ensuring communities are placed firmly as the primary stakeholders. Improving and sustaining the livelihoods and climate change preparedness of these increasingly vulnerable coastal communities remains the core goal of our work.

Text and images by Blue Ventures

- Posted by Sven Stadtmann, GRID-Arendal

Blue Ventures in Madagascar, Pt. 2

Part 2 of our three-volume featured series about Blue Ventures blue carbon activities in Madagascar.

Getting bogged down in Northern Madagascar; News from the Blue Carbon Team
Blue Ventures | Madagascar, Jun 12th, 2012 | by Trevor Jones 

Greetings from Ambanja, in the north-west of Madagascar, where the Blue Venture’s (BV) Blue Forests and Coastal Communities (BFCC) team is currently recharging their batteries (figuratively and literally) in preparation for the 4th week of a month long field campaign in the vast mangroves of Ambaro/Ambanja bay. Hosted by and working closely with residents of mangrove-adjacent communities who have intimate knowledge of the area, our biomass scientists, joined by a visiting mangrove scholar from the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), have been following a systematic sampling strategy designed around our preliminary mangrove variability survey in February.  The going is typically hard and slow. But, impressively,43 plots have been established in and around two mangrove-adjacent communities (i.e. Ampampamena and Ambolikapy). With a fourth week to go, we are sure to have established well over 50 plots. In addition, we are excited to report siting a mangrove species as of yet undocumented in the literature as occurring in Madagascar (i.e. Xylocarpus moluccensis: see the photo below)!

Taking samples by 'coring'
While most members of the BFCC team are bogged down in the mud, the socio-economic crew have been spending their days hard at work making themselves known to all regional & local authorities and also community members, while arranging focus groups and workshops wherein historical and current relationships between communities and the mangrove resources they rely upon are being established. By no means an easy task, but progress has been made through these meetings and interactions and with a 4th week to go, the socio-economic crew is poised to return with a wealth of contextual information associated with past and present mangrove relationships.

Our new species
Through the observations of the biomass crew and the interactions of the socio-economic crew, it is clear that degradation and in certain areas whole-sale deforestation of the mangroves is indeed prevalent (just see the photo below). Sadly, the pace of this loss seems rapid, and we can report that some of the dense areas of tall, mature, closed canopy mangrove forest, visited just two months ago, once revisited during this expedition, are now largely devoid of trees. The primary cause of this loss is related to over-exploitation for charcoal; much of which is done by and for other communities, such as those from neighbouring Nosy be and reportedly migrants from as far south as Antsohihy. Other drivers include unplanned over-exploitation and exportation for other needs/uses/materials (e.g. fence posts, building materials for dwellings) and conversion of mangrove areas for food production (e.g. rice, palm, and fruit bearing trees).

Mud Mud Glorious Mud!
Community leaders generally seem aware of the issues at hand and recognise the associated pending risks; some more so than others, depending on the extent and tangible proximity/impacts of over-exploitation. Encouragingly, replanting efforts have been observed in several communities however, for these to be successfully continued and to prevent discouragement with results, an overhaul must occur; nurseries are to be established and mangroves are only planted when they are physically ready and have the highest chance of survival.

Despite the dire situation, the reaction in communities seems promising and leads us to believe that our continued efforts can help empower these vulnerable coastal communities to restore, conserve and sustainably utilise the surrounding mangroves. This in turn further helps safeguard the numerous critical ecosystems services and diverse flora and fauna associated with healthy, intact mangrove ecosystems and adjacent lands.

Ambanja Area
It is early days yet for these efforts, the task at hand is complex and difficult and the road is long, but once the mud has been washed off from this trip, the BFCC team will be hard at work preparing for a comparative analysis in Mahajamba bay – this will be done in collaboration with the sustainable aquaculture firm, Aqualma. Mahajamba Bay is an area which ecologically has many similarities but which due to a comparatively smaller proximate population is only now starting to experience high levels of loss associated with unplanned over-use.

The hardworking BFCC team
During the coming months, with field efforts on-going, the BFCC team will be piecing together what we have learned from these field campaigns, the results of which will include an unprecedented suite of information for the carbon stocks, dynamics, and underlying agents, drivers and causes of change for Madagascar’s two largest mangrove ecosystems. The information we are collecting and analysing will allow us to further evaluate the feasibility of and work towards implementing payments for ecosystem services (PES) and carbon financing mechanisms (e.g. REDD+) as well as directly contribute to methodologies specific to measuring carbon stocks and their dynamics in mangrove ecosystems. In summary, our novel efforts aim to improve the livelihoods and climate change preparedness of these and other increasingly vulnerable coastal communities throughout Madagascar’s coastal communities and hopefully, in time, beyond.

Text and images by Blue Ventures

- posted by Sven Stadtmann, GRID-Arendal

Blue Ventures in Madagascar, Pt. 1

Part 1 of a three-volume featured series about Blue Ventures blue carbon activities in Madagascar.

When the going gets tough? The tough keep surveying: Exploring the mangrove forests of NW Madagascar.
Blue Ventures | Madagascar, Mar 6th, 2012 | by Trevor Jones 

The Blue Forests and Coastal Communities (BFCC) team is currently in transit on the long (>2500km!) road trip back to Toliara after a month long reconnaissance mission in northern Madagascar.

We’ve been surveying various mangrove-adjacent communities in the Ambaro bay region, at the opposite end of the country to our office base in Toliara. The days were long and mostly incredibly hot, with temperatures reaching 39 Celsius/101 Fahrenheit. The going was tough and slow, through mud which reached the depth of one’s waist; through jungle gym arrays of buttress roots often sporting near razor sharp shells; through dense scrub forest which was home to dangling wasp nests who made it quite clear with their stings that our presence was not welcome. The sunburn, rashes and stings were cooled and soothed at times by torrential rains associated with a series of cyclones and tropical storms; however, the rain, a welcome break from the heat, was so heavy at times that all work ground to a halt.

The BFCC team hard at work

Despite the slow going, we successfully and thoroughly inventoried over 20 hectares of mangroves, establishing over 100 field plots to capture the variability in mangrove ecosystem types based on aspects of species dominance, canopy cover, tree density, frequency of tidal inundation and various other ecological attributes. In addition, we documented observed levels of degradation and deforestation.

A preliminary summary of the status of these mangrove ecosystems based on our observations and interviews leads us to believe that degradation and in places wholesale deforestation is prevalent. The stories are different but similar, and the primary reason for over-exploitation is charcoal production. Enormous, near industrial-scale charcoal production operations were witnessed in numerous locations. Our initial interviews indicate that much of the extraction and charcoal production is carried out by migrants taking the forest products back to towns around the island of Nosy Be, which, due to the limited extent of its own mangroves and upland forests, lacks the resources necessary to derive this currently essential forest product. However in some communities, it is the residents themselves who have turned to over-exploitation for a variety of reasons, such as around a former sapphire mining boom town, where residents and now unemployed former miners now have no other option to make a living.

These forests are being cleared for charcoal

Our presence was overall welcomed, except in migrant charcoal production camps where it was feared (of course wrongly) that we were there to shut down operations.

Locals have a variety of concerns, including deforestation reaching a level where the current mangrove buffers are no longer intact and tidal waters will inundate communities, and observable rapid declines in crab populations.

While the level of exploitation is certainly not welcome news and we have only scratched the surface of what is going in the region, it is clear that the situation warrants further investigation by the BFCC team. In April, after having used the data we collected on this reconnaissance mission to make a map of the different mangrove types and surrounding land-cover types from satellite imagery. Also after having targeted particularly vulnerable communities, the BFCC team will return to the region to implement a biomass inventory, socio-economic research and social impact assessment. Through these activities, we can quantify the carbon stocks in these forests and model their dynamics, and reach a more concrete understanding of the agents, drivers and underlying causes of degradation and deforestation. In addition, we can begin to thoroughly understand the role that mangroves play in the lives of these coastal communities, and how alterations to this role might impact stakeholders, including migrants.

A cleared mangrove forest - what a sorry sight

This is of course no small feat, but our current team of three full time staff will be growing later this month (and for our next campaign) by a full time socio-economic researcher, a full time remote sensing scientist, a visiting graduate student working on social impact assessment and a mangrove expert from Kenya! In tandem with the local expertise offered through our community hosts who have lived their entire lives in and around these ecosystems, the BFCC team is poised to bring back a wealth of information from their next field mission, all of which works towards assessing the feasibility of payments for ecosystem services (PES) and carbon financing mechanisms.

In the meantime, we will work our way back towards Toliara, let our wounds heal and prepare for the next phase…


Text and images by Blue Ventures

- posted by Sven Stadtmann, GRID-Arendal

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wetland Carbon Credits Approved Under VCS

An Restore America Estuaries-led (RAE) initiative aimed at creating  greenhouse gas offset opportunities for coastal wetlands received approval under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) today, paving the way for increased private investment in wetland restoration and conservation projects through the issuance of internationally recognized carbon credits.


Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Approves Wetland Restoration and Conservation as New Carbon Trading Category
via Restore America's Estuaries | Washington D.C., Oct 4th, 2012 | Steve Emmett-Mattox 

The new VCS requirements for Wetlands Restoration and Conservation (WRC) create a project category for measuring and crediting climate benefits from a broad range of wetlands, including mangroves, freshwater tidal coastal wetlands, salt marshes, seagrasses, floodplains, peatlands, and other wetland types. 

The importance of the VCS wetland carbon credit registry cannot be overstated, according to Patrick Megonigal,Senior Scientist and Deputy Director, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “This is the first carbon-crediting standard to advance conservation and restoration across the full diversity of the world’s wetlands,” said Megonigal. 
“We hope that by adopting wetlands under the VCS Standard, wetland conservation and restoration activities will be stimulated,” added Stephen Crooks, Climate Change Services Director at ESA PWA, an environmental consulting group. 
Crooks noted that there is a billion-dollar backlog in coastal and estuarine projects nationwide that would provide immediate, long-term, economic and environmental benefits to the U.S., and that “we are already receiving interest in potential new projects from all over the world, including Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and the United States.” 

“Preserving and restoring some of America’s most threatened ecosystems—tidal wetlands—may be among the best ways of mitigating greenhouse emissions that fuel global warming and climate change,” said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries.

 “These new wetlands provisions in the VCS Program represent a major step forward in providing a credible framework for new activities to demonstrate real carbon reductions,” said VCS Executive Officer David Antonioli. “I am proud that the VCS has again taken the lead in developing these robust new crediting mechanisms which I am sure will serve as an important contribution to addressing climate change.” 
VCS is the leader in the voluntary carbon market with a 58 percent global and U.S. share. It is considered by many market and policy professionals as the most sought-after certification in the world today. 
New research indicates that tidal wetlands are efficient carbon sinks for greenhouse gases (GHG). This makes coastal restoration, adaptation, and mitigation essential elements in government planning and policy, and has profound ramifications and opportunities for commercial investments in domestic and international carbon markets. 
Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane are potent greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to climate change. Research focusing on “Blue Carbon” in coastal wetland ecosystems suggests that coastal wetlands sequester carbon at rates 3-5 times greater than temperate forests, making them important carbon “sinks,” as world temperatures and sea levels rise. Tragically, coastal wetlands are being lost globally at an unsustainable rate estimated at one to three percent per year. 
VCS Wetlands Technical Working Group contributors include: Steve Emmett-Mattox (Lead Coordinator), Restore America’s Estuaries; Dr. Igino Emmer (Lead Author), Silvestrum; Carolyn Ching, VCS Association; Dr. Stephen Crooks, ESA PWA; Dr. Boone Kauffman, U.S. Forest Service; and Dr. Patrick Megonigal, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 
Funding was provided by KBR, GenOn, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Power Plant Research Program, America’s WETLAND Foundation, ConocoPhillips, and Entergy. 
Restore America’s Estuaries ( is a national alliance of 10 regional, coastal conservation organizations with more than 290,000 volunteer-members dedicated to preserving our nation’s estuaries. RAE members include: American Littoral Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, Save The Bay-Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay-San Francisco, Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Tampa Bay Watch. 

Contact: Steve Emmett-Mattox, RAE: sem (at)

- Posted by Sven Stadtmann, GRID-Arendal

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mangroves for Coastal Protection

At the recent World Conservation Congress in South Korea, IUCN Director General  Julia Marton-Lefevre discussed Mangroves as a inexpensive alternative to artificial coastal protection. According to the IUCN, we cannot beat the natural coastal protection provided by mangroves - apparently conserving existing coastal mangrove forests or restoring them is more efficient and cost effective than building man-man structures to protect coastlines threatened by climate change. One more reason to protect a key blue carbon ecosystem...

Florida Mangroves (Image by Steven Lutz, GRID-Arendal)

Protecting Mangroves cheaper than building coastal protection - official
Alertnet | Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 | by Johann Earle

Keeping coastal mangrove forests intact or replanting them is cheaper than building man-made structure to protect coastlines threatened by climate change, according to the head of the International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN).

“Our message is, ‘Don’t assume that man-made or engineered solutions are the only ones to protect our coasts and rivers and to provide drinking water. We are not against engineering in the absence of natural solutions, but look at what nature has to offer,’” urged Julia Marton-Lefevre at the recent World Conservation Congress in South Korea.

Preserving mangrove forests can help regulate rainfall patterns, reduce the risk of disasters from extreme weather and sea level rise, provide breeding grounds for fish and capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to slow climate change, she said. That suggests preserving them will be essential to fighting climate change and protecting lives and livelihoods in the face of climate shifts already underway.

“Standing trees help us with inevitable climate change,” she said. “Keeping mangroves intact on the coast is not only good for capturing and storing carbon but also very useful for protecting the coast in times of extreme weather conditions and acting like nurseries for fish to ensure people have protein to eat,” she said.

“Ecosystems, including mangroves, play a role in mitigation and adaptation. You have to respect the forests, wetlands, peatlands and oceans in capturing and storing carbon. Once you respect that, then maybe there would be an impetus to take care of (them) better,” she said, during an interview with AlertNet.

“Standing forests also provide livelihoods for people,” she added. “You don’t have to cut the trees down to raise cattle. You could also grow food inside the forest canopy,” she said.

Story available at:

- Posted by Sven Stadtmann, GRID-Arendal