These marine ecosystems are capable of capturing carbon up to 30 and 50 times faster than terrestrial forests, locking it into the marine sediments for thousands of years.
The Blue Carbon Lab will examine how investment in local projects of marine ecosystem protection and restoration could optimise carbon sequestration and storage.
The new study will focus on Western Port and the eastern edge of Port Phillip Bay, both areas with existing blue carbon assets, and with potential for even greater capacity for carbon capture through the restoration of areas already damaged or lost.
Biosphere Foundation CEO Mel Barker said funding from SECCCA’s member councils, including Bass Coast, would help ensure that future and more significant investments into blue carbon would yield positive returns for local communities, the climate and sustained biodiversity.
Back to the future
Nov 5, 2021 - Neil Daly asks whether the blue carbon method could redress much of the damage to Western Port caused by a century of drainage works and land clearing.
“This research will help build awareness that the conservation and restoration of our coastal ecosystems is indispensable to help us adapt and mitigate to climate change.
“Not only could future investment make a substantial contribution to Australia achieving net zero carbon, but it would also help enhance marine biodiversity in the bays and support sectors like recreation, tourism and fishing,” she said.
Marine ecosystems can capture carbon up to 30 and 50 times faster than terrestrial forests and store it for thousands of years.
“Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab is one of the world’s leading centres for blue carbon research, focussed in quantifying the capacity of our coastal and marine environments to help offset carbon emissions, especially in the region most relevant to our bayside councils.”
The head of Blue Carbon Lab, Professor Peter Macreadie, said the project would deliver a valuable roadmap for future investment in blue carbon ecosystem restoration, supported by comprehensive maps of existing habitat, suitable areas for coastal wetland restoration and other co-benefits deriving from these ecosystems (eg. coastal protection, fisheries, improvement of water quality).
“With the support of the Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation and SECCCA, this project will be crucial to understand the blue carbon opportunities at local and regional scale within the Western Port Biosphere Reserve and South East Councils Climate Change Alliance region.”
“We expect that our project will identify the areas within this region that are suitable to deliver productive blue carbon projects and biodiversity outcomes with the right level of investment and evidence-based project planning and management,” he said.
Participating cities and shires are Bass Coast, Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Kingston and Mornington Peninsula.