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Australian vegetated coastal ecosystems as global hotspots for climate change mitigation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 11:17 authored by Serrano, O, Lovelock, CE, Atwood, TB, Macreadie, PI, Canto, R, Phinn, S, Arias-Ortiz, A, Bai, L, Baldock, J, Bedulli, C, Carnell, P, Connolly, RM, Donaldson, P, Esteban, A, Ewers Lewis, CJ, Eyre, BD, Hayes, MA, Horwitz, P, Hutley, LB, Kavazos, CRJ, Kelleway, JJ, Kendrick, GA, Kilminster, K, Lafratta, A, Lee, S, Lavery, S, Maher, DT, Marba, N, Masque, P, Mateo, MA, Mount, RE, Ralph, PJ, Roelfsema, C, Rozaimi, M, Ruhon, R, Salinas, C, Samper-Villarreal, J, Sanderman, J, Sanders, CJ, Santos, I, Christopher SharplesChristopher Sharples, Steven, ADL, Cannard, T, Trevathan-Tackett, SM, Duarte, CM

Policies aiming to preserve vegetated coastal ecosystems (VCE; tidal marshes, mangroves and seagrasses) to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions require national assessments of blue carbon resources. Here, we present organic carbon (C) storage in VCE across Australian climate regions and estimate potential annual CO2 emission benefits of VCE conservation and restoration. Australia contributes 5–11% of the C stored in VCE globally (70–185 Tg C in aboveground biomass, and 1,055–1,540 Tg C in the upper 1 m of soils). Potential CO2 emissions from current VCE losses are estimated at 2.1–3.1 Tg CO2-e yr-1, increasing annual CO2 emissions from land use change in Australia by 12–21%. This assessment, the most comprehensive for any nation to-date, demonstrates the potential of conservation and restoration of VCE to underpin national policy development for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Publication title

Nature Communications



Article number









School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Nature Publishing Group

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© The Author(s) 2019. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)