“Blue carbon” is the carbon stored in mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrasses. These coastal and marine ecosystems sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon in both the plants and sediment below. In fact, recent research shows that 50% of all carbon in the ocean is stored in coastal habitats, despite taking up on only 2% of ocean area. Which means these ecosystems could be an underutilized yet critical component to battling climate change.
Enter Lindsay Young, Affiliate Graduate Faculty of the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Management. Lindsay was recently named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar, and will be developing a research program and teaching a course on blue carbon at the University of the Philippines in Manila.
“I am humbled to receive this award, particularly since my career path has been a hybrid of academic and applied work,” she says. “I look forward to not only developing a new program, but learning from my colleagues and students in the Philippines.”
Coastal ecosystems have a disproportionally high impact on sequestering and storing carbon to alleviate the impacts of climate change, Lindsay explains. Comprised of more than 7,700 islands, and home to thriving mangrove and seagrass ecosystems, the Philippines is an ideal location to expand the knowledge of blue carbon initiatives on a global scale, and provide academics and managers in the country with the knowledge and tools needed to grow this important initiative.
“As the country with the fifth-longest coastline in the world, the Philippines has the potential to contribute significantly to carbon sequestration in the coastal environment,” she says. “The course and skills will be highly transferable to students at the University of Hawaiʻi – particularly given that the State of Hawaiʻi faces the similar environmental threats as the Philippines as a tropical archipelago.”