Innovative approaches to improving the carbon storage potential of vegetated coastal ecosystems
sea4soCiety aims to develop innovative approaches to enhance the potential for carbon sequestration in coastal ecosystems in Germany and worldwide that are ecologically feasible, environmentally sound, legally and ethically unobjectionable, and based on societal requirements for additional benefits, including economic viability, as well as broad acceptance.
sea4soCiety will quantify the storage capacity of »blue carbon« in four coastal ecosystem types and compare it with the deposits of organic material in unvegetated marine sediments. The origin and stability of organic matter deposits, as well as their dynamics, will be analysed comparatively on the coasts of the German North Sea, the German Baltic Sea, the Colombian Caribbean Sea, andthe easter and western coast of Malaysia. Remote sensing is used for quantifying the aboveground biomass of vegetation in the study areas. Based on the characterization of the respective habitat, those currently unvegetated coastal regions that would be suitable for assisted expansion of coastal ecosystems (Ecosystem Design) will be identified. In this way, evidence- and scenario-based recommendations for policy- and decision-makers will be developed and subsequently scaled up to levels of national, international and global relevance, based on local field research. In an innovative and participatory approach, new governance systems will be designed to address local needs for ecosystem services in addition to mitigating climate change through »blue carbon« sequestration. Identifying potential synergies and trade-offs in GHG storage and sequestration initiatives from a regional development perspective (in line with the United Nations SDGs, the German Sustainable Development Strategy, and the German Climate Change Program) contributes to the goal of creating a roadmap for the sustainable use of marine carbon storage and will build national capabilities in atmospheric CO2 extraction (carbon dioxide removal, CDR). More explicitly, sea4soCiety will improve competence for the assessment of potential and feasibility, risks and societal acceptance – as well as interactions with other ecosystem services and sustainability goals- for coastal ecosystems in Germany and worldwide.
The knowledge gained will be translated into solution-oriented action knowledge for politics, business and civil society in order to support political and societal decision-making processes in a scientifically sound manner in the regional, national and international context, and thus also strengthen the international effectiveness and visibility of German marine research.