Blue carbon in national greenhouse gas inventories – overcoming challenges in tropical countries

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Valerie Hagger , Sigit Sasmito , Carly Green , Steve Crooks and Catherine E. Lovelock

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Coastal wetlands, including mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses, sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide (blue carbon), while also providing valuable ecosystem services. Although their global area is smaller than terrestrial forests, their per unit area carbon sequestration is greater, because of the accumulation of soil carbon, contributing to the climate change mitigation potential of  coastal wetland restoration. The value of sustainably managing coastal wetlands is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the Paris Agreement, participating countries are required to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals using IPCC guidelines for national GHG inventories. Despite the availability of GHG guidance to include change in coastal wetlands, few countries have applied the guidance. Review of national climate change actions found that mangrove holding countries often consider coastal wetlands in their adaptation plans, but rarely in their estimation of GHG emissions/removals or mitigation. Some countries, such as Indonesia, have included mangroves for results-based payments under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Indonesia is including managed coastal wetlands in national GHG inventory and has recently announced ambitious targets to restore 600,000 ha of mangroves by 2024. We explored the opportunities and challenges for incorporating coastal wetlands into national GHG inventories in Fiji and Indonesia, and developed advice for tropical countries on how to overcome these challenges considering previous IPCC guidance. By incorporating coastal wetlands within national GHG inventories, countries can recognize the valuable contribution they provide to climate change mitigation, helping to meet GHG emission reduction targets.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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