The Power of Coastal Wetlands
Last week’s post was about the impact of Oil and Gas industries on Louisiana’s coastline. This week, we’ll focus on why coastal wetlands are so important, and how focusing on coastal wetland restoration can actually help fight global climate change.
Coastal wetlands are crucial to fighting global climate change because their ecosystems draw in carbon as they grow and expand. Mangroves, seagrasses, and tidal marshes – which are foundational species to most coastal wetlands – transfer this carbon into rich organic material that is trapped in their roots. This carbon can remain trapped for thousands of years. Despite this information, scientists estimate that over 50% of mangroves and seagrasses and25% of tidal marshes have been lost.
It is important that we implement policies that will preserve these ecosystems instead of destroying them. Fighting climate change is often framed as an expensive and uncertain process, but preserving and restoring these wetlands shows how easy fighting climate change can be. Using natural processes to fight climate change, known as using “blue carbon” systems, can offset the more expensive measures associated with climate change. Additionally, restoring coastal wetlands prevents soil erosion, preserves fresh water sources, protects local economies and preserves communities.
For more information about coastal wetlands, their benefits to local ecology and carbon capture systems, and other “blue carbon” systems, please examine the reports here.