Blue Carbon in Marine Protected Areas: Part 3
A Blue Carbon Assessment of Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries

Coastal and marine ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle, sequestering and storing carbon over long timescales. These "blue carbon" ecosystems help mitigate climate change and its impacts by facilitating the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ocean and transporting carbon into sediments or deep waters where it can remain indefinitely if undisturbed. Inclusion of these coastal and ocean processes as part of the solution to global climate change is essential in achieving global carbon mitigation and emission reduction goals; however, blue carbon is often overlooked in climate mitigation policies. Further, resource managers of the largest network of U.S. marine protected areas (MPAs), the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, have not incorporated assessments of blue carbon extent and functionality into their management plans, policies, or decisions, which can result in unintentional carbon emissions and lost opportunities to further protect and enhance carbon sequestration in MPAs.

Key Words

blue carbon, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, carbon stock, marine protected area, climate change, mitigation, kelp, whale, seagrass, salt marsh