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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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).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Duarte, C., Losada, I., Hendriks, I. et al. The role of coastal plant communities for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nature Clim Change 3, 961–968 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1970
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