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Solent coastal habitats provide crucial environmental benefits - University of Portsmouth

Saltmarsh at Chichester Harbour (University of Portsmouth)
Saltmarsh at Chichester Harbour (University of Portsmouth)

They provide the equivalent of over £1.1 billion in environmental benefits every year

The Solent’s coastal habitats provide the equivalent of over £1.1 billion in environmental benefits every year, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are a global aquatic environmental problem and often cause large-scale algal blooms in the Solent. Similarly, global increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) and its strong influence on climate change, have led to marine ecosystems storing significant amounts of CO2 (often referred to as blue carbon) through accumulation in vegetation and burial in sediments, known as ‘sequestering’.

The Environment Agency funded study, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, assessed the capacity of seven key coastal habitats – intertidal mudflats, mat-forming green seaweed, seabed sediments, saltmarsh, seagrass, reedbeds and native oyster reefs - to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from coastal waters and sequester blue carbon.

The equivalent monetary value of removing these was then calculated.

The researchers found that:

Posted on: 24 August 2020

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