UNESCO's International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22 focussed strongly on conserving our marine diversity. One of the important marine ecosystems are the seagrass meadows around the coasts of the world. A new global scientific research study just released has shown that seagrass meadows store significantly more carbon than any land based forest. They are very important as carbon sinks. But they are also suffering a major decline due to pollution from agricultural and mining development and chemical runoff, coastal development changing water turbidity upsetting photosynthesis in seagrass, and increasing sea surface temperatures affecting seagrass growth due to global warming.
The new global study of seagrass meadow ecosystems has found that coastal seagrass beds store much more carbon than can be stored in even the most carbon dense forests, such as the temperate native forests of Victoria. Seagrass meadows can store up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometre, mostly in the soils below them. In comparison, a typical land forest stores around 30,000 metric tons per square kilometre mostly as wood. It is the first global study to analyze the carbon storage capacity in seagrasses.
More Information: Seagrass Watch | Global Seagrass Monitoring Network