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Coastal Blue Carbon

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Coastal vegetation and wetland habitats can remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to regulate the Earth’s climate. Coastal marine plants, such as mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes, not only store carbon, but they also continually accumulate carbon in their biomass and sediments, creating long term carbon reservoirs. By analyzing changes in carbon storage over time and comparing this across alternative management scenarios, the InVEST Blue Carbon model quantifies the value of carbon storage and sequestration services provided by coastal ecosystems. This model is one of the first coastal blue carbon tools where users can provide spatially-explicit information on disturbances to vegetation caused by climate change (e.g., sea level rise) and human activities (e.g., draining of a wetland or shoreline hardening). The Blue Carbon model can also be used to value avoided emissions and identify where on the land or seascape there are net gains or losses in carbon over time.