Linking humans with blue carbon ecosystems

Ecosystem services (ES) are benefits nature provides to humans. In , seagrass meadows and mangroves provide key , including and climate mitigation. The sequestered in coastal and marine vegetated ecosystems is known as , and the ecosystems are usually referred to as blue carbon ecosystems. Blue carbon ecosystems are being lost at a high rate in Southeast Asia. This is problematic because living on the coast heavily rely on seagrasses and mangroves for provisioning services such as livelihoods and food security.

A team of scientists from Japan and the Philippines, including Dr. T. E. Angela Quiros, Dr. Kenji Sudo and Professor Masahiro Nakaoka of the Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere at Hokkaido University's Akkeshi Marine Station, examined the social vulnerability of fishing communities that rely on blue carbon ecosystems. The Hokkaido University team collaborated with Busuanga-based NGO C3 Philippines and members of the local government, as well as the Busuanga community for the field collections. Their findings, presented at the sixth International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC6) and published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, suggest conservation strategies to manage social vulnerabilities of coastal communities who rely on blue carbon ecosystems.

From the left: Masahiro Nakaoka, Hokkaido University; Rommel Llanillo, BFARMC Chairperson, Barangay Quezon; and Muammar Princess Soniega, Programme Officer, C3 Philippines, assessing seagrass abundance and species diversity in Barangay Quezon, Busuanga, during the study. Credit: T. E. Angela L. Quiros

The 10 fishing communities on Busuanga Island surveyed in this study. Black lines indicate the barangay (administrative district) in which each community is located; and mangroves and seagrass beds used by each community are indicated by orange and green, respectively. Credit: T. E. Angela L. Quiros, et al. Frontiers in Marine Sciences. August 3, 2021

The social vulnerability of each community surveyed in this study, broken down into the three criteria and combined to determine the total vulnerability. Credit: T. E. Angela L. Quiros, et al. Frontiers in Marine Sciences. August 3, 2021