Coastal wetlands, including salt marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows, are among the most productive—and threatened—ecosystems on the planet. They provide many benefits to people and nature, such as helping communities adapt to severe storms, flooding, and other climate-related threats and sequestering carbon from the water and atmosphere in their branches, leaves, roots, and underlying soils. These carbon stores are known as “blue carbon” because they are located in places where the land meets the sea. However, these wetland habitats have lost more than a third of their area over the past half-century.
Because coastal wetlands provide carbon sequestration and other important benefits, conservation and restoration of these areas is an important nature-based strategy for mitigating the effects of climate change, and helping communities internationally and across the United States adapt to a changing climate.