Coastal Blue Carbon step by step - A new manual for measuring, assessing and analyzing carbon in the field and lab

Coastal ecosystems are critical to maintaining human well-being and global biodiversity. Mangroves, tidal salt marshes, and seagrasses sequester and store significant amounts of coastal blue carbon from the atmosphere and ocean and are now recognized for their role in mitigating climate change. Conservation and restoration of these coastal ecosystems has been increasingly addressed in international and national climate change mitigation policy and finance mechanisms. However, to date, countries have not incorporated coastal blue carbon into their portfolio of climate change mitigation or coastal management policies and actions, largely because the mechanisms for assessing blue carbon were not well defined or standardized.

To address this concern, our team of 34 experts in the fields of coastal carbon measurement, remote sensing, and climate policy, the Blue Carbon Initiative co-lead by Conservation International (CI), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, have produced “Coastal Blue Carbon: methods for assessing carbon stocks and emissions factors in mangroves, tidal salt marshes, and seagrass meadows”. Its goal is to standardize protocols for sampling methods, laboratory measurements and analysis of blue carbon stocks and fluxes.  

The purpose of the manual is to provide scientists and coastal managers with a practical tool for measuring carbon stocks in coastal and marine ecosystems. However, the vision is that the manual will be used to produce robust blue carbon data that inspires and enables natural resource professionals and other decision makers to take action to conserve coastal ecosystems, and their diverse ecosystem functions.

Related information: