Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Seagrasses Store More Carbon Than Forests Do

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Seagrasses Store More Carbon Than Forests Do

Article excerpt

Seagrass meadows can store up to twice as much carbon as the world's temperate and tropical forests, making seagrasses a vital part of the solution to climate change. So say researchers reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience. Study results demonstrate that coastal seagrass beds store up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, mostly in the soils beneath them. As a comparison, a typical terrestrial forest stores about 30,000 metric tons per square kilometer, mostly in the form of wood.

"This assessment shows that sea-grasses are a dynamic ecosystem for carbon transformation," said James Fourqurean, lead author of the paper and a scientist at Florida International University and the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site.

"Seagrasses [store] carbon in their roots and soil in coastal seas," said Fourqurean. "We found places where seagrass beds have been storing carbon for thousands of years."

Seagrasses are among the world's most threatened ecosystems. Some 29 percent of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, mainly due to dredging and degradation of water quality. …

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