Blue carbon sequestration potential in Zostera marina eelgrass beds of the K'omoks Estuary, British Columbia
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Greenhouse gases, as a significant cause of global climate change, are the highest in history. Coastal ecosystems are said to contribute to climate change mitigation by sequestering significant amounts of blue carbon. Disconcertingly, seagrasses are experiencing global extent loss. Using dated sediment cores, the potential for carbon sequestration was assessed in Zostera marina eelgrass bed sediments of the K’ómoks Estuary. Some of the assessed areas are found to be non-depositional. In areas of deposition the sediment accumulation rate is 0.23 to 0.78 g cm-2 yr-1, and the carbon concentration range in buried sediment is 0.06 to 0.22%. Carbon accumulation rates are 0 to 1.3x10-3 gC cm-2 yr-1, lower than in nearby Strait of Georgia. The K’ómoks Estuary is a disturbed site. The calculated area weighted average carbon sequestration rate for the K’ómoks Estuary is 1.18x 10-5 tC m-2 yr-1. At this rate, the author suggests these northwest Pacific Ocean eelgrass beds do not sequester carbon at the global rates anticipated by previous work. Protection of all estuarine ecosystems will also provide important ecological benefits.
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