In the next 5 years, the Blue Carbon Initiative, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and our partners will build a global network of regional nodes for blue carbon data and knowledge exchange. This Network will establish an international community of research scientists and practitioners to effectively leverage coastal wetland carbon science for purposes ranging widely from basic research to policy development to management.
Coastal wetlands are increasingly recognized by policy, coastal management, carbon markets and related mechanisms for their importance in biological carbon sequestration and storage. These communities are aware that coastal wetland carbon stocks are highly exposed to human disturbance; that nearly a quarter of the worlds population lives within 100 km of the coast, a figure that is likely to increase to 50% by 2030; and that human activity in coastal wetlands emits CO2 equivalent to 3-19% of those from deforestation globally, resulting in economic damages of $US 6-42 billion. Our commitment recognizes that current and future efforts related to the science, policy and management of coastal wetlands for carbon-based benefits are limited by access to comprehensive, comparable, and quality controlled data, and by tools that allow data to be shared, synthesized, and modeled. There is currently no such globally accessible resource that meets this need, resulting in duplication of effort and isolated nodes of practitioners. Implementing science-based management of coastal wetland systems requires high-quality data that yields new insights on carbon cycle processes and supports the development, testing and validation of conceptual or predictive models; our commitment directly addresses this need.
Therefore the goals of the Network will be to:
1. Create a global network of Blue Carbon knowledge nodes that host quality controlled data on carbon characteristic of mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes
2. Support a global network of scientists
3. Accelerate learning across regions and globally
4. Support the integration of blue carbon into local to national to international ocean and climate policy and management globally, including accelerating conservation and restoration of these ecosystems
Establish regional nodes
Workshops to socialize and get feedback on the data sharing system, build capacity, and develop tools/models to assist in science based decision making
Develop a platform for collecting and sharing data
Develop web based data analysis tools