Actual content will be added to individual Paragraph layouts.
Wetlands provide a variety of ecosystem services, including capturing and storing carbon.
Coastal wetlands provide a variety of ecological services, including erosion control, flood protection, water filtration, and wildlife habitat. Increasingly, the value of wetlands to store and sequester carbon is becoming better understood. Wetlands provide an important role as a carbon sink, trapping some of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon absorbed and stored by ocean and coastal ecosystems is known as "blue carbon".
"Research suggests that coastal wetlands capture and store carbon at rates three to five times greater than tropical forests, which makes them efficient and essential carbon sinks."
- Murray et al., 2011, in the Blue Carbon Fact Sheet
To understand how wetland plants can capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, begin with a review of the carbon cycle and the process of photosynthesis.
Carbon stored in terrestrial plants is commonly referred to as "green carbon" since plants are typically green. The term "blue carbon" refers to the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems, since the ocean is often connected with the color blue. Below are some resources that help explain the term Blue Carbon, and why researchers are focusing on carbon storage in coastal wetlands.
The Bringing Wetlands to Market curriculum from Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve provides resources for high school educators teaching about blue carbon and coastal wetlands.
Oregon Explorer: "Wetlands are uniquely productive and valuable ecosystems with permanent or seasonal standing water. Salt marshes, pitcher-plant bogs, mountain fens, and desert saltgrass flats are just a few of the wetland types in Oregon."
Lesson: Where is Carbon Found? A Carbon Walk - This lesson from Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve's Bringing Wetlands to Market curriculum helps students appreciate how carbon can be found throughout the natural and human-built environment. While this lesson is designed for a classroom, in MWEEs by the Sea workshops teachers used the activity in outdoor environments.
Students collect qualitative and quantitative data to assess how much carbon is stored in local ecosystems.
Lesson: Score One for the Estuaries - This lesson from NOAA's Estuaries 101 curriculum focuses on actions people can take to become estuary stewards.