Assessing the risk of carbon dioxide emissions from blue carbon ecosystems

Document Type



Wiley Blackwell


School of Science


  • CSIRO Coastal Carbon Biogeochemistry Cluster
  • The Oceans Institute of the University of Western Australia
  • Global Change Institute of The University of Queensland
  • Australian Research Council. Grant Numbers: DE130101084, LP160100242

Grant Number

DE130101084, LP160100242


Originally published as : Lovelock, C. E., et al. (2017). "Assessing the risk of carbon dioxide emissions from blue carbon ecosystems." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15(5): 257-265. Article can be found here


“Blue carbon” ecosystems, which include tidal marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows, have large stocks of organic carbon (Corg) in their soils. These carbon stocks are vulnerable to decomposition and – if degraded – can be released to the atmosphere in the form of CO2. We present a framework to help assess the relative risk of CO2 emissions from degraded soils, thereby supporting inclusion of soil Corg into blue carbon projects and establishing a means to prioritize management for their carbon values. Assessing the risk of CO2 emissions after various kinds of disturbances can be accomplished through knowledge of both the size of the soil Corg stock at a site and the likelihood that the soil Corg will decompose to CO2.