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Blue carbon benefits from global saltmarsh restoration
Mason, V. G.; Burden, A.; Epstein, G.; Jupe, L. L.; Wood, K.A.; Skov, M. W. (2023). Blue carbon benefits from global saltmarsh restoration. Glob. Chang. Biol. 29(23): 6517-6545.

Bijhorende data:
In: Global Change Biology. Blackwell Publishers: Oxford. ISSN 1354-1013; e-ISSN 1365-2486, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    climate change, coastal wetland; greenhouse gas; marsh creation; organic matter; sequestration

Auteurs  Top 
  • Mason, V. G.
  • Burden, A.
  • Epstein, G.
  • Jupe, L. L.
  • Wood, K.A.
  • Skov, M. W.

    Coastal saltmarshes are found globally, yet are 25%–50% reduced compared with their historical cover. Restoration is incentivised by the promise that marshes are efficient storers of ‘blue’ carbon, although the claim lacks substantiation across global contexts. We synthesised data from 431 studies to quantify the benefits of saltmarsh restoration to carbon accumulation and greenhouse gas uptake. The results showed global marshes store approximately 1.41–2.44 Pg carbon. Restored marshes had very low greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes and rapid carbon accumulation, resulting in a mean net accumulation rate of 64.70 t CO2e ha−1 year−1. Using this estimate and potential restoration rates, we find saltmarsh regeneration could result in 12.93–207.03 Mt CO2e accumulation per year, offsetting the equivalent of up to 0.51% global energy-related CO2 emissions—a substantial amount, considering marshes represent <1% of Earth's surface. Carbon accumulation rates and GHG fluxes varied contextually with temperature, rainfall and dominant vegetation, with the eastern coasts of the USA and Australia particular hotspots for carbon storage. While the study reveals paucity of data for some variables and continents, suggesting need for further research, the potential for saltmarsh restoration to offset carbon emissions is clear. The ability to facilitate natural carbon accumulation by saltmarshes now rests principally on the action of the management-policy community and on financial opportunities for supporting restoration.

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