National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Government of India

FTR Research

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Climate Change

Carbon Sequestration in coastal ecosystems

This study aims to provide a comprehensive database on biological carbon fixation and sediment carbon burial from the ecologically important coastal ecosystems of India.

Carbon sequestration is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form for considerable period of time. Biological carbon sequestration has the potential to reduce the rate of increasing global warming and mitigate the rapid changes in climate.

Blue carbon ecosystems are well known for their effective high rates of annual carbon sequestration and the storage of the sequestered C on longer time scales. Sequestered blue carbon is stored over relatively shorter time period (decennial) in biomass than over longer (millennial) time scales in sediments. Despite their global area (~0.5% of the sea bed) are one to two orders of magnitude smaller than that of terrestrial forests, the contribution of vegetated coastal habitats per unit area to long-term C sequestration is much greater (it has 70% of the ocean’s carbon storage capacity).

The C sequestration study under BECOCE project is conceptualized into three components


Biogeochemical assessment of Carbon sequestration in coastal ecosystems.

This part will focus on the processes governing carbon dynamics in coastal ecosystems (Mangrove, Salt marshes and Seagrass) and will incorporate following field based and laboratory based measurements

Carbon accrual to live biomass of different costal vegetative ecosystem is being estimated by quantifying net ecosystem productivity.
Long term C burial to the sediment will be estimate by using sedimentation rates (radiocarbon methods) and soil bulk density.

The present study will provide a comprehensive database on biological carbon fixation and sediment carbon burial from the ecologically important coastal ecosystems of India. This study will highlight the processes, which makes the ecosystem as a source or a sink CO2 to the atmosphere.

Geo-Spatial assessment of Carbon sequestration in coastal ecosystems.

This study focuses on Satellite based Assessment of Carbon Sequestration rates in Blue carbon ecosystems.

Coastal vegetated are critical to mitigating climate change through capture of carbon and its storage. Coastal vegetation is capable of sequestering and storing carbon through photosynthesis and accumulation of organic matter in soils, sediments and plant biomass. They are also involved in horizontal transport of carbon between ecosystems. The complexity of these processes have often limited in accurately estimating and predicting carbon sequestration at different temporal and spatial scales.

Due to spatial heterogeneity, high macrophyte diversity, and varied hydro-patterns, wetlands are also difficult to accurately characterize through remotely sensed data. Improved sensor resolution and the availability of additional spectral bands and sensing technologies provide opportunities to characterize wetlands and provide baseline data to assist resource managers in its sustainable management.

Approach

Mapping of various blue carbon ecosystems, in particular mangroves and seagrass along the Indian coast will be made using satellite images of appropriate resolution and digital image processing techniques

Assessment of the current carbon sequestration potential (NPP) of the mangroves using LAI-NDVI proxy approach and corroborating the results with NDVI-CASA method in selected locales

Prediction and projection of future trends in carbon dynamics under future climate change scenarios.

The main focus is to estimate the partitioning of organic carbon in Indian coastal waters using the numerical models. The model prediction would provide the scenarios of sediment accumulation/erosion and corresponding C gain/loss along the coast.

The coastal sediment carbon budget plays a crucial role in understanding the complex interactions between the diverse sources and sinks of carbon and is associated with the exchange of sea water between estuaries and costal water. Moreover the carbon cycle of the coastal ocean is a dynamic component of the regional and global carbon budget. However, it essential to estimate Carbon stock through field based measurements, to understand the C dynamics using numerical models that considers the physical parameters like currents, water level elevations, waves, sediment load etc.

Approach

Modeling the impact of coastal erosion/aggradations on net C sink (gain/loss) along mangrove dominated coast

Significance of suspended particulate matter, sedimentation and early diagenetic processes in the C dynamics of the coastal water

Role of natural (physical/biogeochemical) and anthropogenic (total loads) factors responsible for the sediment transport and coastal degradation in the country

Development of policy initiatives to conserve the coastal C sinks through model predictions under various coastal scenarios