Experts call for holistic approach when looking at carbon sequestration in Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea has significant potential for carbon sequestration, yet the precise contribution of specific habitats to greenhouse gas reduction has not been quantified on a trilateral scale. As climate change accelerates, there is growing interest in evaluating the CO2 sequestration capabilities of the Wadden Sea. To initiate a collaborative exchange on carbon sequestration in salt marshes, seagrass meadows, sediments, and mussel beds, over 50 experts from the three Wadden Sea countries and beyond attended the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat's trilateral workshop titled "CO2 Sequestration in the Wadden Sea: State of Knowledge and Open Questions."

Extensive knowledge at national or local levels presents an opportunity to scale up estimates to the ecosystem level. The workshop commenced with several presentations on carbon cycling and storage in the Wadden Sea. These findings underscored the necessity of meticulously assessing carbon sequestration across different habitats and regions, while also identifying specific knowledge gaps, particularly concerning human use and varying management regimes.

During the discussions, two groups focused on identifying critical knowledge gaps and potential threats, as well as opportunities related to carbon sequestration in the Wadden Sea. A recurring theme was the need for a holistic approach, recognizing that carbon sequestration is only one of several ecosystem services provided by Wadden Sea habitats. Management strategies aimed at enhancing carbon storage should not negatively impact other aspects such as biodiversity conservation or coastal protection. Additionally, it was emphasized that the rate of carbon sequestration in Wadden Sea habitats is much lower than the current rate of carbon emissions from the three countries, underscoring the urgent need for emission reductions. Preventing the release of old carbon from natural sources was also highlighted as a critical consideration.

The workshop report includes a concise summary of the presentations, the outcomes of the discussions, and an outline of the next steps.