The Blue Economy

Coastal ecosystems are formed where land and the ocean meet. Wetlands, mangroves, salt marshes, all form part of coastal ecosystems and serve as a buffer between sea and land – salt and fresh water. The plants and other organisms which thrive here have evolved to live with salt water and changing tides.

Coastal ecosystems provide benefits of both carbon storage and coastal protection. They are better than normal forests for storing carbon as dead plant matter release carbon more slowly in coastal environments. Carbon can stay trapped in waterlogged soil for thousands of years. It is estimated that mangroves can store 3 to 5 times more carbon per acre as other tropical forests. Mangroves and the other coastal habitats are some of the best protections for coastal communities against extreme weather. Though some efforts are being made to preserve and regenerate mangroves, seagrass and wetlands, there is potential to do much more.

Destruction of coastal habitats has led to increasing vulnerability to rising sea levels for coastal communities. They are an important part of the coastal ecosystem whose cooperation is necessary to preserve the balance between human needs and nature. Sustainable fishing practices can help preserve livelihoods while minimising the loss of biodiversity due to destructive fishing practices.

Funding these projects through a mixture of public and private capital and executing over multiple years are key challenges that must be addressed specially as more coastal habitats continue to be destroyed by over development.