Methane and nitrous oxide emissions complicate blue carbon assessments

Judith A. Rosentreter, Alia N. Al-Haj, Robinson W. Fulweiler, Phillip Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


The role of coastal wetlands as natural ‘blue carbon’ sinks may be counter-acted by emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Site-specific fluxes of these two potent greenhouse gases from coastal wetlands show high spatial and temporal variability , making global estimates sensitive to statistical assumptions and uncertainties. Here, we review the magnitude of CH4 and N2O fluxes from mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrasses and identify direct and indirect drivers that can control production and consumption pathways. Significant research is required to better quantify fluxes and to understand factors causing flux variability from different transport pathways before restoration of coastal blue carbon ecosystems can be reliably used for climate mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GB006858
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • blue carbon
  • climate benefits
  • coastal wetlands
  • methane
  • nitrous oxide
  • offsets

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