Coastal wetlands provide critical ecosystem services. While it is well known that forests store large amounts of carbon from greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane), research indicates that coastal wetlands might capture and store carbon at rates three to five times greater than forests.
Research also suggests that nitrogen pollution from septic systems, stormwater runoff, and airborne pollution can significantly compromise a wetland’s ability to store carbon. Wetlands’ ability to absorb and store tremendous amounts of blue carbon has received increased attention from policymakers, researchers, and educators in communities, state and federal agencies, and organizations in New England and beyond. Until recently, blue carbon storage has been a largely theoretical concept, but end users are expressing more interest in the practical applications of this relatively new concept.