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Posted Thu Mar 10 2011: from Scientific American:
Blue Carbon: An Oceanic Opportunity to Fight Climate Change
Mangroves are tangled orchards of spindly shrubs that thrive in the interface between land and sea. They bloom in muddy soil where the water is briny and shallow, and the air muggy. Salt marshes and sea grasses also flourish in these brackish hinterlands. Worldwide, these coastal habitats are recognized for their natural beauty and ability to filter pollution, house fish nurseries and buffer shorelines against storms. Less known is their ability to sequester vast amounts of carbon--up to five times that stored in tropical forests. Dubbed "blue carbon" because of their littoral environment, these previously undervalued coastal carbon sinks are beginning to gain attention from the climate and conservation communities.... To date, human encroachment has destroyed more than 35 percent of mangroves, 30 percent of sea grass meadows and 20 percent of salt marshes. Stopping such destruction could therefore become an important element in confronting climate change.
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