22 May 2012:
Seagrasses Hold More Carbon
Per Square Kilometer Than Forests
The planet’s seagrass meadows store more than twice as much carbon per square kilometer as forests
, demonstrating that coastal vegetation can play an important role in mitigating climate change, a new study says. Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience
, a team of scientists calculated that coastal seagrass beds can store up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, compared with 30,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer in typical forests. While seagrasses occupy less than 0.2 percent of the world's oceans, they account for more than 10 percent of all the carbon trapped in the sea.Seagrasses have a unique ability to store carbon in their roots and soil in coastal areas, the study showed. In some regions, they found, seagrass beds have stored carbon for thousands of years. “Seagrasses only take up a small percentage of global coastal area, but this assessment shows that they’re a dynamic ecosystem for carbon transformation,” said James Fourqurean, a scientist at Florida International University and lead author of the study.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.