February 3, 2016
TFG staff member Catherine Martini presented a poster on behalf of TFG last week at the 22nd Annual International Society of Tropical Foresters Conference at Yale. The poster entitled “From REDD+ to Blue: Filling Gaps for the Inclusion of Coastal Blue Carbon in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories” is the product of ongoing research by TFG director Patrick Cage & Catherine Martini on Costal Blue Carbon (CBC).
Cage and Martini also presented their TFG CBC research at COP 21 in Paris. They gave a brief talk at Le Bourgette on December 2, 2015, presenting their research findings at a session entitled “Bridging the research gap: a discussion of new directions and research needs for climate policy”. The session was supported by the RINGOs Constituency, in conjunction with the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) of The Fletcher School, Tufts University.
Interest in Coastal Blue Carbon (CBC), sequestered in mangrove, seagrass, and tidal marsh ecosystems, has spiked in recent years. These ecosystems have carbon sequestration rates up to 55 times higher than tropical terrestrial forests, and are lost at a rate of about 1.5% per year. The coastal ecology community has begun to consider how a framework similar to REDD+ could both preserve coastal ecosystems and mitigate climate change, as well as deliver adaptive, livelihood, and sustainable development co-benefits to local communities.
Many gaps remain in this quickly growing field. With lessons learned from the development of the REDD+ framework for conserving forests, Cage & Martini identify one critical gap in particular: the lack of national default values for carbon stocks and carbon fluxes in mangrove ecosystems. Robust default values would allow countries to include estimates of CBC in national greenhouse gas inventories, a prerequisite for including CBC conservation and restoration projects in climate change mitigation policy. Following Gibbs et al. 2007 for tropical forest carbon, our research surveys the literature to compare existing values for regional coastal blue carbon stock and carbon sequestration estimates and to prioritize where further research is most needed to spur promising policy outcomes.