Gordon Watson  ‘Our paper, Assessing the natural capital value of water quality and climate regulation in temperate marine systems using a EUNIS biotope classification approach “ recently published in Science of the Total Environment has shown temperate intertidal and subtidal sediment systems to be some of the most valuable biotopes in terms of sequestering nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon. The press release is shown below:

Solent coastal habitats provide over £1.1 billion in environmental benefits every year

Excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are a global aquatic environmental problem and often cause large-scale algal blooms. Similarly, global increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) and its strong influence on climate change, have led to marine ecosystems storing significant amounts of CO2 (often referred to as blue carbon) through accumulation in vegetation and burial in sediments, known as ‘sequestering’. Putting a monetary value on an ecosystem’s ability to remove nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon is an effective way for communicating the significance of often overlooked shallow water systems that are in decline due to habitat loss, sea level rise and climate change. 

Using the common regionally derived pounds sterling (£) value for a standard price for the removal of nutrients from the environment, University of Portsmouth scientists sponsored by the Environment Agency found that submerged aquatic habitats such as seagrass and oyster reefs remove £73 million tonnes worth of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon every year, while wetlands such as saltmarsh and reedbeds remove about £168 million tonnes worth per year. 

Less complex ecosystems, such as intertidal and seabed sediments, provide nutrient removal ecosystem services worth £509 million and £395 million per year respectively. Together this equates to £1.1 billion in nutrient reductions and blue carbon stored in Solent coastal sediments annually. The assessment indicates that coastal habitats are a vitally important component of the UK’s natural capital, but efforts are needed to establish shallow water conservation areas and develop habitat restoration plans.

Read the full press release: https://www.port.ac.uk/news-events-and-blogs/news/solent-coastal-habitats-provide-crucial-environmental-benefits

The research paper is available for a limited time as early bird free access via the Elsevier Share Link system (see link below) so please take a look and pass on to interested colleagues.  If you are a tweeter or a Facebook user please also spread the word via these mediums too.


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