Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Restoring Mangroves May Prove Cheap Way to Cool Climate

Restoring Mangroves May Prove Cheap Way to Cool Climate.

Found along the edges of much of the world's tropical coastlines, mangroves are absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at an impressive rate. Protecting them, a recent study says, could yield climate benefits, biodiversity conservation and protection for local economies for a nominal cost -- between $4 and $10 per ton of CO2.

Mangrove forests are ecosystems that lie at the confluence of freshwater rivers and salty seas. While they make up only 0.7 percent of the world's forests, they have the potential to store about 2.5 times as much CO2 as humans produce globally each year.

These environments, along with other forms of coastal ecosystems such as tidal marshes and sea grasses, have been given the name "blue carbon" to differentiate them from the "green" carbon of other forests, where carbon is absorbed above ground in trees.

Juha Siikamäki, a fellow at the environmental economic think tank Resources for the Future and lead author of the study, says efforts to maintain mangroves could add an enormous potential for carbon offset projects. First, their importance must be publicized. More