WHY SHOULD BLUE CARBON
BE PRESERVED ?

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Hi Ecology Friends!

Did you know that...

Blue carbon plays an important role in mitigating global climate change. First, let me tell you, what is blue carbon? Blue carbon is carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems, including mangrove ecosystems, tidal lands, and seagrass beds. According to the website of The International Blue Carbon Initiative, these ecosystems provide many benefits and services that are critical to climate change adaptation along coasts globally, including protection from storms and sea level rise, prevention of shoreline erosion, regulation of coastal water quality, provision of habitat for important commercial fisheries and endangered marine species, as well as food security for many coastal communities.

With the presence of blue carbon, the carbon in the atmosphere caused by human activities (eg industry and transportation) will be absorbed and sequestered by blue carbon thereby preventing carbon from rising to the ozone layer. Blue carbon as a natural climate solution measures the role of coastal and marine ecosystems in mitigating climate change by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, which are critical for the survival of the planet (Deakin University, 2021). It should be noted that blue carbon has a very large ability to lock carbon compared to other ecosystems. According to research, biomass (leaves, stems and roots) and sediments of mangroves and seagrasses are capable of storing carbon 3-5 times greater than vegetation on land (Directorate of Utilization of Coastal and Small Islands of Marine and Fisheries Ministry, 2021).

Well, that's why blue carbon is very important in preventing global climate change. When the blue carbon is reduced/damaged, the blue carbon will release back the carbon that has been stored during its lifetime into the atmosphere (greenhouse gas emissions). Therefore, it is very important to keep blue carbon protected and sustainable. Various effective and sustainable efforts are needed to maintain the integrity of the blue carbon ecosystem.

Referring to the Forest Digest website, Indonesia has 3.2 million hectares of mangrove area and 3 million hectares of seagrass beds and is estimated to store 17% of global carbon stocks. However, this blue carbon faces various challenges in many countries in the world, including Indonesia. In Indonesia, most of the damage to the seagrass ecosystem is caused by land conversion activities and the construction of installations in coastal areas. In the mangrove ecosystem, anthropogenic pressures from the charcoal industry, conversion to ponds, and construction of buildings (hotels and resorts) have caused the mangrove area to shrink.

Related to this problem, the Peat and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) has planted mangroves covering an area of ​​3,981 hectares. Reporting from the BRGM website, the implementation of mangrove rehabilitation activities in 2021 involves 464 community work programs with an average of 34 people spread across North Sumatra, Riau Islands, Riau, Bangka Belitung, West Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Papua, and West Papua. The Head of BRGM, Hartono stated that this year's mangrove rehabilitation will be carried out on an area of ​​83,000 hectares with a gradual work model. In connection with this problem, the Marine and Fisheries Research and Human Resources Agency (BRSDM) cooperates with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in research and conservation of seagrass and mangrove resources (Marine and Fisheries Research and Human Resources Agency of Marine and Fisheries Ministry, 2021).

Referring to the news of the Pikiran Rakyat, to support efforts to preserve blue carbon in Indonesia, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan revealed Indonesia's efforts to increase the Net Zero Emission target by 2060 as part of the UNFCCC COP26 agenda series in which mangroves are one of the sectors to support that achievement. In addition, Indonesia has also submitted the Updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document and the latest 2050 long-term strategy for carbon and climate security to the UNFCCC secretariat.

Well Friends, in an effort to preserve and protect blue carbon, participation from various parties, both from the government and the community, is needed to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation of conservation activities. This conservation activity must include the community as a party that is directly related to the impacts caused by blue carbon. It is hoped that national and international blue carbon conservation programs can run well so that the positive impact can be enjoyed by everyone. With the preservation of blue carbon, it will not only have an impact on the success of climate change mitigation, but can also help realize sustainable development for the community.

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