By: Narissa Bax / Edited by: Women in the Arctic and Antarctic

A new open access article, “Towards Incorporation of Blue Carbon in Falkland Islands Marine Spatial Planning: A Multi-Tiered Approach”, is out now co-authored my many talented individuals including Narissa Bax and Rachel Downey.

Their article aims to describe and advance understanding of several inter-linked island ecosystems, through a multi-layered approach. This encompasses both marine and terrestrial carbon cycles, and details known or potential CO2 pathways, sequestration and loss. Such an approach can provide a robust framework for future blue carbon research and ecosystem-based management, allowing marine protected areas (MPAs) to be more meaningfully defined and managed. The steps to achieve this are outlined for the major terrestrial and marine habitats of the Falkland Islands (FI), and a similar approach could be used for assessing blue carbon stocks of other island nations.

We provide recommendations of how awareness of blue carbon can contribute to marine spatial planning, and identify key knowledge gaps. To the best of the co-authors’ knowledge, this paper further includes: 1) the first blue carbon paper to include estimates of fluvial transport of DOC carbon for the FI rivers; 2) the first overall estimates of carbon stock across the Falklands Conservation Zones; 3) the first specific discussion of FI mesophotic ecosystems and knowledge gaps in the region; 4) the most up-to-date offshore synthesis of multibeam bathymetry data and vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) distribution and areal extent for the FI; and 5) a proposal that FI wetlands and seagrass could be potential new local blue carbon habitats. Proposed Marine Managed Areas are undergoing consultation in the Falklands Islands in 2022, and this paper provides a foundation for future work on these important ecosystems.

Cover photo provided for use in this blog post by Narissa Bax, the photo copyright holder.