Review Article | Published:

The role of coastal plant communities for climate change mitigation and adaptation

Nature Climate Change volume 3, pages 961968 (2013) | Download Citation

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  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 27 July 2016

This article has been updated

Abstract

Marine vegetated habitats (seagrasses, salt-marshes, macroalgae and mangroves) occupy 0.2% of the ocean surface, but contribute 50% of carbon burial in marine sediments. Their canopies dissipate wave energy and high burial rates raise the seafloor, buffering the impacts of rising sea level and wave action that are associated with climate change. The loss of a third of the global cover of these ecosystems involves a loss of CO2 sinks and the emission of 1 Pg CO2 annually. The conservation, restoration and use of vegetated coastal habitats in eco-engineering solutions for coastal protection provide a promising strategy, delivering significant capacity for climate change mitigation and adaption.

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Change history

  • 15 June 2016

    In the version of this Review Article originally published, a calculation error resulted in the underestimation of the global primary production of vegetated coastal habitats reported in Table 1. The citations in this table have been revised and the corrected table is shown below. In addition, reference 101 has been replaced: Charpy-Robaud, C. & Sournia, A. The comparative estimation of phytoplanktonic microphytobenthic and macrophytobenthic primary production in the oceans. Mar. Microb. Food Webs 4, 31–57 (1990). These errors have been corrected in the online version of this Review Article.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (projects MEDEICG, CTM2009-07013 and ESTRESX, CTM2012-32603), the EU FP7 projects Opera (contract number 308393) and MedSEA (contract number -265103) and the CSIRO Coastal Carbon Cluster. N.M. was supported by a Gledden Fellowship from the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Western Australia, I.H. was supported by a Posdoctoral contract of the JAE programme of CSIC and I.M. by a PhD scholarship of the Government of the Balearic Islands (Spain).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. UWA Oceans Institute, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, 6009 Crawley, Western Australia, Australia

    • Carlos M. Duarte
  2. Department of Global Change Research, Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (CSIC-UIB), Miquel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Spain

    • Carlos M. Duarte
    • , Iris E. Hendriks
    • , Inés Mazarrasa
    •  & Núria Marbà
  3. Faculty of Marine Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80207, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

    • Carlos M. Duarte
  4. Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental, Universidad de Cantabria, Isabel Torres 15, 39011 Santander, Spain

    • Iñigo J. Losada

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carlos M. Duarte.

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    Supplementary Table 1

    Coastal protection services of vegetated coastal habitats.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1970