These are known as blue carbon ecosystems and include mangroves, tidal and salt marshes, and seagrasses, which are the foundation of highly productive coastal ecosystems particularly important for their capacity to store carbon within the plants and in the sediments below. This makes them a key component of nature-based solutions to climate change.
Our partnership with member councils of the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA), including Bass Coast, Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Kingston and Mornington Peninsula, and Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab, will build on research already undertaken along Victoria’s coastline to identify how future ecosystem management could optimise carbon sequestration (capture) and storage.
Our research aims to identify the extent of the mangrove, saltmarsh, and seagrass meadow ecosystems already in Western Port and the potential to enhance them. Proper investment in marine ecosystem protection and restoration could ensure Victoria’s Western Port and Port Phillip bays contribute to local and national achievement of net zero carbon emissions.
We are not acting alone. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been releasing its sixth assessment report in instalments since August 2021, with the latest release, part III, published on April 4th 2022, examining the global potential of carbon sequestration and carbon removal technologies.
A worldwide effort to protect and enhance blue carbon ecosystems and secure their carbon offsetting benefits would have the potential to be a key part of mitigation against the worst climate change scenarios, including removing carbon from the atmosphere, and helping reduce flood risk and erosion from sea level rise and increasing severity and frequency of storms.
Our research will provide tangible evidence that the mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass meadows of Western Port and Port Phillip could provide benefits globally in the rush to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, with flow-on benefits for the broader environment and biodiversity.
Join us as we delve into the wonderful world of blue carbon. We hope that by learning about the potential of these ecosystems you will be inspired to protect them and perhaps carbon offset when you travel or join one of the initiatives to restore these habitats around the bays.
For information about Western Port’s mangroves click on the YouTube link to watch the Blue Carbon Lab explain more.
From left to right: Professor Peter Macreadie (Head of Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab), Glenn Brooks-MacMillan (Program Manager, Western Port Biosphere Foundation) and Daniel Pleiter (Acting CEO, SECCCA).