Blue forests store up to 18% of the world’s oceanic carbon – but what are they?
They refer to meadows of seagrass, an underwater flowering plant that sustains much of the world’s marine wildlife and cover around 300,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor.
The United Nations launched World Seagrass Day to raise awareness of the plant – which improves biodiversity and can be an answer to curbing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.
In addition to holding carbon, seagrasses also reduce wave energy – which can protect coastal communities from impacts of floods and storms.
However, they are in danger – with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimating that every 30 seconds a football pitch equivalent of the plant disappears.
Rising ocean temperatures from climate change and ocean acidification are the two chief causes of their decline.
The day dedicated to seagrasses has been set up to drive forward action for their conservation and protection to keep the ecosystem healthy and battle climate change at the same time.
Leticia Carvalho from the UNEP said: “The seagrass ecosystem is a perfect example of nature in action, where habitats and the delicate web of life are intertwined in perfect harmony.”