Sep 13, 2011

How much are seagrasses worth?

A recent study estimates that Australia's coastal seagrass beds are worth $79 per hectare, based just on the carbon that seagrasses store.
From ARKive awesome images our biodiversity.
Sea grasses store 10 to 40 times as much carbon per hectare as forests, and Australia's sea-grass meadows are the largest in the world. The report, however, also noted that 29% of the world's sea grass beds had vanished since 1879. In Western Australia, about 1,000 hectares of sea grass were lost after a particularly warm summer.

Ocean ecosystems add an extra $25 billion to the national economy each year which is not accounted for in official figures, the report says. These includes $15.8 billion a year in carbon storage. Oceans also provide $6.2 billion a year in pest and disease control services in fisheries, as well as $1.85 billion per year of benefits in recreational fishing.

Aside from warning of a decline in the number of seagrass beds, the report recommended building up fish stocks and creating more marine parks to buffer ocean ecosystems from the climate change affects of acidity and rising temperatures. The report said extending a proposed marine protection area to cover coastal shelf, sea grass and coral reefs could protect a further $1.1 billion in economic benefits.

The report, Stocking Up: Securing Our Marine Economy, by The Centre for Policy Development can be downloaded from their website.

Media articles about the report on wildsingapore news.

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