Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM and MSP processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

The EBM Tools Network’s discussion listserv recently tackled a question about what tools are currently available for quantifying blue carbon. Blue carbon is an area that is developing rapidly, and Network members had many great suggestions for tools and resources for getting started with blue carbon projects.

First of all, what is blue carbon and what are blue carbon projects?

Blue carbon is the carbon sequestered and stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. In particular, tidal marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses extract carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store carbon within plant biomass. This carbon is eventually transferred to the soil carbon pool, and wetlands that build over time are continually sequestering carbon as they bury old soil with new. When these ecosystems are degraded, the stored carbon can be released into the atmosphere very rapidly.

What tools are available for quantifying blue carbon?

We learned about two software or online tools that are currently available for estimating blue carbon.

In addition to the tools above, a number of guides and project reports also provide critical information for quantifying blue carbon.

Last but definitely not least!

2015 was a big year for blue carbon with the approval of the VM0033 Methodology for Tidal Wetland and Seagrass Restoration by Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This is the first globally applicable greenhouse gas accounting methodology for coastal wetland restoration and allows salt marsh, seagrass, mangrove, and other tidal wetland restoration projects to earn carbon credits. A manual for project developers considering and planning blue carbon projects using the VCS VM0033 Methodology is available.

Interested in learning even more? Check out the following resources:

Many thanks to the EBM Tools Network for providing this information! If you are interested in joining the Network to share information about tools and resources for coastal and marine conservation and management, sign up here.