EU DG-Environment Warns of Seagrass Decline, Carbon Dioxide Releases

25 October 2012: A news alert released by the EU Directorate-General of the Environment (DG-Environment) explores the annual average global annual decline of seagrass beds by 1.5% since 1900, which is now accelerating, noting they are an important carbon sink.

The alert notes that three tons of "blue carbon" are stored by each hectare of seagrass and up to 140 tons is locked in the top meter of each hectare of seagrass soil. The alert emphasizes estimates that globally seagrasses conservatively store 4.2-8.4 billion tons of carbon in the top meter alone.

The alert highlights disease, pollution, eutrophication and infrastructure construction as threats to seagrass beds, but notes seagrasses are protected by a number of initiatives including the Natura 2000 network and the EU Directives on Nitrates, Urban Wastewater, Water Framework, Marine Strategy, Birds and Habitats. [DG-Environment News Alert]