The value of carbon sequestration and storage in coastal habitats

Beaumont, N.J., Jones, L., Garbutt, A., Hansom, J.D. and Tobermann, M. (2014) The value of carbon sequestration and storage in coastal habitats. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 137, pp. 32-40. (doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2013.11.022)

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Coastal margin habitats are globally significant in terms of their capacity to sequester and store carbon, but their continuing decline, due to environmental change and human land use decisions, is reducing their capacity to provide this ecosystem service. In this paper the UK is used as a case study area to develop methodologies to quantify and value the ecosystem service of blue carbon sequestration and storage in coastal margin habitats. Changes in UK coastal habitat area between 1900 and 2060 are documented, the long term stocks of carbon stored by these habitats are calculated, and the capacity of these habitats to sequester CO2 is detailed. Changes in value of the carbon sequestration service of coastal habitats are then projected for 2000–2060 under two scenarios, the maintenance of the current state of the habitat and the continuation of current trends of habitat loss. If coastal habitats are maintained at their current extent, their sequestration capacity over the period 2000–2060 is valued to be in the region of £1 billion UK sterling (3.5% discount rate). However, if current trends of habitat loss continue, the capacity of the coastal habitats both to sequester and store CO2 will be significantly reduced, with a reduction in value of around £0.25 billion UK sterling (2000–2060; 3.5% discount rate). If loss-trends due to sea level rise or land reclamation worsen, this loss in value will be greater. This case study provides valuable site specific information, but also highlights global issues regarding the quantification and valuation of carbon sequestration and storage. Whilst our ability to value ecosystem services is improving, considerable uncertainty remains. If such ecosystem valuations are to be incorporated with confidence into national and global policy and legislative frameworks, it is necessary to address this uncertainty. Recommendations to achieve this are outlined.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansom, Professor James
Authors: Beaumont, N.J., Jones, L., Garbutt, A., Hansom, J.D., and Tobermann, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
ISSN (Online):1096-0015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 137:32-40
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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