Mapping Ocean Wealth
Marine and coastal ecosystems, such as saltmarshes, mangroves, and seagrasses collectively referred to as ‘coastal wetlands’ are Australia’s under-appreciated ecosystems. Yet coastal wetlands provide many benefits, or ‘ecosystem services’, including: supporting commercial and recreational fisheries, protecting our coastlines and coastal assets from ocean related threats like storm surges and sea level rise, sequestering and storing carbon (known as blue carbon) and providing places for nature-based tourism and recreational activities. These benefits are vital not only for our health and wellbeing, but they also play a significant role in maintaining economies (particularly in regional areas). This makes coastal wetlands critical for the long-term resilience and survival of our planet. However, managers, planners and economists often struggle to include the social, cultural and economic value derived from coastal wetlands into coastal management and planning. As a result, the true social and economic value of nature’s enormous wealth is often left unaccounted for or undervalued in coastal decision-making.
The Mapping Ocean Wealth (MOW) project is a global project developed by The Nature Conservancy, which seeks to calculate and describe – in quantitative and spatial terms – the ecosystem services provided by marine and coastal ecosystems. In collaboration with Deakin University’s Conservation Science and Blue Carbon Labs, The Nature Conservancy, other universities, and Victorian and New South Wales governments, the Marine Mapping Lab is helping to quantify and communicate the many benefits provided by coastal wetlands with a focus on southeastern Australia.
Using multiple remote sensing and modelling approaches, we are quantifying the above ground biomass of mangrove ecosystems and developing methods to quantify the carbon stored in the soils of the coastal ecosystems (blue carbon). We are also using the InVEST toolset developed by The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University to associate values to carbon storage of these ecosystems under contemporary, future climate change, and restoration scenarios.More details about each of the individual projects can be found by following the below links:
Remote Sensing techniques for quantifying above ground biomass of mangroves
Ensemble modelling approaches to quantify soil carbon storage of coastal ecosystems
Valuing coastal blue carbon of Victoria