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Title [en]
Climate change mitigation capacity of the Baltic coastal seascape: identification of hotspot environments for coastal blue carbon sequestration and guidance for sustainable management of the Baltic coastal landscapes under global change (CLIM-SCAPE)
Abstract [en]
Global climate change mitigation is the most important alternative to face the threats to our planet but poses ample challenges for society, governments and policy makers around the world. Within the climate debate, there is a key focus on the climate mitigation potential of natural carbon sinks. Nevertheless, there are major knowledge gaps concerning the functioning and vulnerability of these sinks and their critical link to climate compensation capacity and conservation policies, especially regarding the complex coastal marine environments of the Baltic Sea. The project will assess and quantify total net blue carbon sequestration capacity, greenhouse gas exchange and landscapeconnectivity (export and fate of carbon) coupled to habitat degradation and land-use change to identify hotspots of climate mitigation capacity in coastal seascapes of the Baltic region. This novel landscape-scale approach to understand and synthesize climate change mitigation capacity of blue carbon habitats will be contextualized in a comprehensive mapping of policy strategies, conservation practices, monitoring and area-based user conflicts across regions. Seascape-wide conceptual climate-carbon models on coastal blue carbon will be developed to identify areas for spatial conservation prioritization and areas of concern, which will benefit managers developing land use planning and policy-making that just and sustainably safeguard climate regulation services of seascapes in the Baltic Sea.
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Dahl, M., Asplund, M. E., Bergman, S., Björk, M., Braun, S., Löfgren, E., . . . Gullström, M. (2023). First assessment of seagrass carbon accumulation rates in Sweden: A field study from a fjord system at the Skagerrak coast. PLOS Climate, 2(1), Article ID e0000099.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>First assessment of seagrass carbon accumulation rates in Sweden: A field study from a fjord system at the Skagerrak coast
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2023 (English)In: PLOS Climate, E-ISSN 2767-3200, Vol. 2, no 1, article id e0000099Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Seagrass meadows are globally important blue carbon sinks. In northern cold-temperate regions, eelgrass (Zostera marina) is the dominant seagrass species, and although their sedimentary carbon stocks have been quantified across regions, information regarding the CO2 withdrawal capacity as carbon sinks remains scarce. Here we assessed the carbon (Corg) accumulation rates (CARs) and stocks as well as the organic matter sources in five seagrass meadows in the Gullmar Fjord area on the Swedish Skagerrak coast. We found that the mean (±SD) CAR was 14 ± 3 g Corg m-2 yr-1 over the last ~120–140 years (corresponding to a yearly uptake of 52.4 ± 12.6 g CO2 m-2). The carbon sink capacity is in line with other Z. marina areas but relatively low compared to other seagrass species and regions globally. About half of the sedimentary carbon accumulation (7.1 ± 3.3 g Corg m-2 yr-1) originated from macroalgae biomass, which highlights the importance of non-seagrass derived material for the carbon sink function of seagrass meadows in the area. The Corg stocks were similar among sites when comparing at a standardized depth of 50 cm (4.6–5.9 kg Corg m-2), but showed large variation when assessed for the total extent of the cores (ranging from 0.7 to 20.6 kg Corg m-2 for sediment depths of 11 to at least 149 cm). The low sediment accretion rates (1.18–1.86 mm yr-1) and the relatively thick sediment deposits (with a maximum of >150 cm of sediment depth) suggests that the carbon stocks have likely been accumulated for an extended period of time, and that the documented loss of seagrass meadows in the Swedish Skagerrak region and associated erosion of the sediment could potentially have offset centuries of carbon sequestration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2023
National Category
Climate Research
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51277 (URN)10.1371/journal.pclm.0000099 (DOI)
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 21-GP-0005The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 21-PD2-0002Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse , F21-0103Australian Research Council, LE170100219


Albert och Maria Bergström foundation

Bolin Centre for climate research

Available from: 2023-04-04 Created: 2023-04-04 Last updated: 2023-04-13Bibliographically approved
Krause-Jensen, D., Gundersen, H., Björk, M., Gullström, M., Dahl, M., Asplund, M. E., . . . Hancke, K. (2022). Nordic Blue Carbon Ecosystems: Status and Outlook. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, Article ID 847544.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nordic Blue Carbon Ecosystems: Status and Outlook
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2022 (English)In: Frontiers in Marine Science, E-ISSN 2296-7745, Vol. 9, article id 847544Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Vegetated coastal and marine habitats in the Nordic region include salt marshes, eelgrass meadows and, in particular, brown macroalgae (kelp forests and rockweed beds). Such habitats contribute to storage of organic carbon (Blue Carbon - BC) and support coastal protection, biodiversity and water quality. Protection and restoration of these habitats therefore have the potential to deliver climate change mitigation and co-benefits. Here we present the existing knowledge on Nordic BC habitats in terms of habitat area, C-stocks and sequestration rates, co-benefits, policies and management status to inspire a coherent Nordic BC roadmap. The area extent of BC habitats in the region is incompletely assessed, but available information sums up to 1,440 km(2) salt marshes, 1,861 (potentially 2,735) km(2) seagrass meadows, and 16,532 km(2) (potentially 130,735 km(2), including coarse Greenland estimates) brown macroalgae, yielding a total of 19,833 (potentially 134,910) km(2). Saltmarshes and seagrass meadows have experienced major declines over the past century, while macroalgal trends are more diverse. Based on limited salt marsh data, sediment C-stocks average 3,311 g C-org m(-2) (top 40-100 cm) and sequestration rates average 142 g C-org m(-2) yr(-1). Eelgrass C-stocks average 2,414 g C-org m(-2) (top 25 cm) and initial data for sequestration rates range 5-33 g C-org m(-2), quantified for one Greenland site and one short term restoration. For Nordic brown macroalgae, peer-reviewed estimates of sediment C-stock and sequestration are lacking. Overall, the review reveals substantial Nordic BC-stocks, but highlights that evidence is still insufficient to provide a robust estimate of all Nordic BC-stocks and sequestration rates. Needed are better quantification of habitat area, C-stocks and fluxes, particularly for macroalgae, as well as identification of target areas for BC management. The review also points to directives and regulations protecting Nordic marine vegetation, and local restoration initiatives with potential to increase C-sequestration but underlines that increased coordination at national and Nordic scales and across sectors is needed. We propose a Nordic BC roadmap for science and management to maximize the potential of BC habitats to mitigate climate change and support coastal protection, biodiversity and additional ecosystem functions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2022
eelgrass, salt marsh, macroalgae, area distribution, carbon stock, carbon sequestration, ecosystem services, management
National Category
Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49532 (URN)10.3389/fmars.2022.847544 (DOI)000811063000001 ()2-s2.0-85132270602 (Scopus ID)
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 21-GP-0005Nordic Council of MinistersEuropean Commission, 869300
Available from: 2022-07-07 Created: 2022-07-07 Last updated: 2023-04-13Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorGullström, Martin
Co-InvestigatorTorn, Kaire
Co-InvestigatorWlodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria
Co-InvestigatorKrause-Jensen, Dorte
Co-InvestigatorGarbaras, Andrius
Co-InvestigatorAsplund, Maria
Co-InvestigatorKjellqvist, Tomas
Co-InvestigatorBjörk, Mats
Co-InvestigatorLehtilä, Kari
Co-InvestigatorLinderholm, Hans
Co-InvestigatorAndrén, Elinor
Co-InvestigatorSjöling, Sara
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
2022-01-01 - 2026-12-31
Keywords [sv]
Östersjö- och Östeuropaforskning
Keywords [en]
Climate Change, Landscape Ecology, Sustainability Science, Baltic and East European studies
National Category
Environmental Sciences
DiVA, id: project:2958Project, id: 21-GP-0005_OS

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