Blueprint for blue carbon: lessons from Seychelles for small island states

Michael Bennett, Antaya March*, Jeremy Raguain, Pierre Failler

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Blue carbon has been proposed as a nature-based solution for climate change mitigation; however, a limited number of published works and data and knowledge gaps hinder the development of small island developing states’ (SIDS) national blue carbon resources globally. This paper reviews the blue carbon ecosystems of Seychelles as a case study in the context of SIDS, comparing estimations by the Blue Carbon Lab and recent blue carbon (mangrove and seagrass) evaluations submitted to the Seychelles national government. Mangroves (2195 ha, 80% in Aldabra Atoll) and seagrasses (142,065 ha) dominate in Seychelles, with coral reefs having the potential for carbon sequestration (169,000 ha). Seychelles is on track to protecting its blue carbon, but these systems are threatened by rising sea levels, coastal squeeze, erosion, severe storms, and human activities. The importance of carbon inventories, accounting institutions, and continuous monitoring of blue carbon systems is discussed. Blue accounting is necessary for accurate accounting of carbon sequestration and carbon storage, generating carbon credits, and representing impactful reductions in greenhouse gases for NDCs. Challenges and opportunities include policy legislation regarding ownership rights, accreditation and certification for carbon credits, sustainable financing mechanisms like natural asset companies and blue tokens, local engagement for long-term success, and carbon market dynamics following COP27. The restoration and regulation of blue carbon resources for optimal ecosystem services delivery, carbon inventories, and blue carbon policy are recommended development priorities. Blue carbon ecosystems have the potential to contribute to NDCs of SIDS while simultaneously offering sustainable development pathways for local communities through the multiple ecosystem services they provide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-108
Number of pages28
JournalOceans
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • carbon accounting
  • carbon sequestration
  • climate mitigation and adaptation
  • ecosystem services
  • nature-based solutions

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