Valuing the European ‘coastal blue carbon’ storage benefit

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‘Blue’ carbon ecosystems are important carbon storage providers that are currently not protected by any international mechanism, such as REDD. This study aims to contribute to raising awareness in the political domain about the ‘blue’ carbon issue. This analysis also provides guidance in terms of how to value stock and flows of ecosystem services adding to the debate begun by the Costanza et al. (1997) paper in Nature. Through scenario analysis we assess how human welfare benefits will be affected by changes in the European coastal blue carbon stock provision. The current extent of European coastal blue carbon has an accounting stock value of about US$180 million. If EU Environmental Protection Directives continue to be implemented and effectively enforced, society will gain an appreciating asset over time. However, a future policy reversal resulting in extensive ecosystem loss could mean economic value losses as high as US$1 billion by 2060.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101–106
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
Early online date24 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2013


  • Coastal blue carbon
  • Posidonia oceanica
  • Saltmarsh
  • Accounting stock value
  • Ecosystem services

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