We often hear the term carbon. When we hear the word carbon, we immediately refer to pollution because it is synonymous with carbon dioxide. But did you know that there are several color terms for carbon? One of them is blue carbon.
'Blue carbon' is the term for the carbon which captured by the marine and coastal ecosystems. It is called 'blue' because it forms underwater.
You may have heard that human activities emit carbon dioxide, which contains atmospheric carbon. These gases, which we know as Greenhouse Gases, are changing the world's climate. On the other hand, perhaps many do not know that the ocean and have a natural way to reduce the impact of Greenhouse Gases, through this carbon sequestration.
The ocean has the largest carbon sequestration capacity in the world, exceeding the green carbon on land. At least 55% of carbon is absorbed by organisms that live in the ocean instead of on land.
The carbon is absorbed and stored by mangroves, tidal marshes and seaweed. The carbon is stored in the biomass or in the soil. Unlike green carbon that is stored in green plants on land for decades, blue carbon is stored for thousands of years under the sea.
Blue carbon ecosystems are one of the effective carbon sinks, they can play a major role in achieving national and global climate change targets.
In Indonesia itself, the potential for blue carbon is quite large. In a study entitled "Indonesia's Blue Carbon: A Globally Significant And Vulnerable Sink For Seagrass And Mangrove Carbon (2015)" explained that seagrass and mangroves in Indonesia store 17% of the world's carbon reservoirs. The amount of carbon reaches 3.4 metric tons of carbon.
This potential is stored in mangroves and seagrass beds which are quite widespread in Indonesia. In 2015, the area of mangroves in Indonesia reached 3.9 million hectares, stretching along a coastline of 95 thousand square kilometers. This area is equivalent to 23% of the world's mangrove ecosystems and is the largest in the world. (ICCTF, 2021)
Besides playing an important role in mitigating climate change, blue carbon ecosystems also provide economic benefits for coastal communities. Blue carbon ecosystems can prevent erosion, protect people's homes from storms, capture pollutants and provide habitat for commercially important species. In addition, the preservation of the blue carbon ecosystem can also support the development of local tourism and provide alternative livelihoods for coastal communities. In Muara Angke, one of the ecotourism destinations for mangroves in Indonesia, located in Jakarta, the mangrove ecosystem managed to earn an income of IDR 31.7 million/ha/year or a total of IDR 3 billion per year from tourism services alone. (WRI, 2019)
Blue carbon is one of the conservation of coastal or coastal areas. When this system breaks down, large amounts of carbon are released back into the atmosphere, which can then contribute to climate change. Protecting coastal habitats is one way to mitigate climate change.
Protecting carbon in coastal systems means protecting a healthy coastal area environment which can provide many other benefits to humans, such as recreational opportunities, protection from natural disasters, and maintenance of habitats for fisheries and recreation.
Therefore, the sustainability and good management of blue carbon ecosystems is very important, because blue carbon can help in meeting national contribution commitments, which is one of the climate goals. Various steps are taken to protect and sustainably utilize marine and marine resources.
One way to help slow the impact of climate change is to include coastal wetlands in the carbon market mechanism through buying and selling of carbon offsets. This method creates financial incentives for restoration and conservation projects and benefits the environment and the financial well-being of communities.