COULD MANGROVE RESTORATION HELP MITIGATE GLOBAL WARMING?
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
The last time atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were as high as they are today was over 3 million years ago. Regardless of the dangers of these rising levels, human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase exponentially. Emissions reductions are an important part of the solution, but experts claim that this action must be paired with actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Protecting and growing nature-based carbon sinks, such as mangrove forests, is integral to this process.
Mangrove sediment flow is critical for conservation efforts
Mangroves (tropical forests of trees with intertwining branches that thrive in coastal areas) are an example of what scientists have dubbed “blue carbon” ecosystems. As opposed to green carbon, which refers to carbon stored on land, blue carbon is stored in coastal and marine areas. In the soil beneath their trees, mangroves are uniquely capable of storing colossal amounts of the element. According to researchers, pound for pound mangrove forests can store four times as much carbon as rainforests can. They also provide many other ecosystem services: protect shorelines from storm surges, filter pollutants from the water, and serve as nurseries for fish.
These services alone are significantly beneficial to the economy as the estimated annual monetary value is roughly $194,000 per hectare. Combined with their impressive ability to sequester and store carbon, the necessity of conserving and expanding mangroves becomes even more of a precedent. Unfortunately, due to a combination of human-initiated deforestation and the impacts of climate change, they are more severely threatened now than ever. Mangrove deforestation between 2000 and 2015 released up to 147 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and a report by the United Nations Environment Program estimated that our clearing of these forests is costing $42 billion in economic damages annually. Because of the value of ecosystems like mangroves and the danger of their shrinking ecosystems, numerous research studies are focusing on supporting the funding of blue carbon projects.
Albo Climate provides a unique tool for measuring the success of carbon sequestration efforts such as the restoration of mangroves. By applying AI to satellite imagery, it becomes possible to quantify and monitor the amount of carbon being removed from the atmosphere as a result of different nature-based projects. Albo Climate’s technology makes it easy for corporations to accurately and efficiently offset their emissions by investing in climate solutions such as blue carbon projects.
Written by River Hayes, Research and Communications Intern at Albo Climate