More than half a million dollars is being invested to explore the value of carbon stored along Adelaide’s coastline, and how it can be enhanced by restoration.

A blue carbon site. Photo: Tony Flaherty
A blue carbon site. Photo: Tony Flaherty

Green Adelaide’s Blue Carbon Futures Fund has provided $163,620 of funding to research being led by Flinders University and Adelaide University to value blue carbon storage along Adelaide’s coastline, and has leveraged $590,000 through funding partnerships.

Blue carbon is the name given to coast and marine habitats that store carbon in either plants or soil. This is done at different rates depending on the type of natural environment.

Coastal habitats such as saltmarshes, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests can capture carbon at a rate up to 40 times faster than forests on land and can store large amounts, helping mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Adelaide’s coastline has great potential for coastal restoration to improve blue carbon storage, particularly its northern coast, but there is limited information available about carbon storage and its monetary value.

Green Adelaide Board Presiding Member Professor Chris Daniels said by investing in this research we can start to understand the true potential of Adelaide’s coast to store carbon, as well as a dollar figure for what that might be worth.

“The research will include investigations across Adelaide’s metropolitan coastline through drone mapping, soil and vegetation surveys, assessing carbon capture and developing models for future carbon market opportunities,” Professor Daniels said.

“It will also help us understand what happens to these environments when they are degraded, and give us the opportunity to progress markets for blue carbon.”

Blue carbon habitats can store carbon for long periods of time but if disturbed, can quickly release potentially tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Work being supported will help quantify the carbon cost of impacts and is important in influencing future development and conservation.

The knowledge gained about Adelaide’s blue carbon sites will be used to guide coastal projects that enhance carbon storage by conserving and restoring valuable sites, which also benefits wildlife, fisheries and the community.

Green Adelaide’s Blue Carbon Futures Fund supports the South Australian Government’s Blue Carbon Strategy for South Australia.

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