Scientists embark on world-first study to reveal carbon stored in UK seas - The Wildlife Trusts

Mussel Bed. Credit: Paul Naylor
Mussel Bed. Credit: Paul Naylor

UK governments urged to protect blue carbon in marine habitats which is critical for tackling climate change 
Marine habitats are at risk of releasing carbon when damaged by bottom trawling as well as sea and coastal development

The UK will become the first nation to produce a complete map of its blue carbon stores, thanks to a new, pioneering project. 

The Blue Carbon Mapping project – led by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and funded by WWF-UK in collaboration with The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB – builds on the blue carbon mapping that began in Scotland. 

The final report will be produced by the summer of 2023, with initial findings expected later this year. 

There is currently limited information about how much carbon is stored in and sequestered by UK marine habitats such as saltmarsh, seagrass beds, kelp forest, biogenic reefs, and marine sediments. 

The project aims to address this scientific blind spot, paving the way for better understanding and protection of the UK’s blue carbon habitats. Scientists will assess the carbon storage and sequestration potential of all UK seas, as well as within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 

With two-thirds of the UK underwater, the study will be critical in helping the UK achieve its commitments to achieving net-zero and to protect at least 30% of UK seas for nature by 2030. 

Understanding and mapping blue carbon stores will allow UK Governments to plan and prioritise how we use our marine environments in the future. This includes exploring the impacts of human activities on blue carbon stores.  

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Posted On: 13/07/2022

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