What is blue carbon?

The carbon held in marine ecosystems is an often underestimated resource in the fight against climate change.

Blue carbon refers to the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems in the form of mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses.

Just like terrestrial plants, these ecosystems capture carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis — but because their soils are waterlogged, they are deprived of oxygen and therefore decompose much more slowly than their terrestrial counterparts.

The rich carbon deposits accumulated by mangrove ecosystems are mostly stored in the roots and soil, and can extend nearly 20 feet below the seabed, where they remain locked away for hundreds to thousands of years. As a result, these ocean forests remove carbon from the atmosphere 10 times faster than rainforests, and seagrasses capture carbon at three times that rate — nearly 30 times faster than rainforests!

Per acre, blue carbon ecosystems store five times as much carbon as tropical forests. Beyond their supercharged capacity to store carbon, these ecosystems supply a range of benefits, from acting as a buffer against storm surges and coastal erosion, to providing vital habitat for a wide variety of marine organisms.

Yet, blue carbon ecosystems are under threat. Every year, 1 to 2% of mangrove forests are lost due to coastal development — primarily agricultural land conversion — and erosion and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change. We need communities like the Blue Climate Collective to streamline collaboration between private and public stakeholders around the world to protect and restore these vital nature-based solutions.

10 free trees if you sign up today

Save the planet every month with our membership

Grow your own forests and reefs

Remove plastic and carbon pollution

See your impact in a personal dashboard

Invite friends to plant with you

100% of funds go to projects