There are a number of blue carbon programs, tools and methods relevant to quantifying blue carbon, and on-ground blue carbon projects. A wide variety of activities can be considered blue carbon practical action. Some focus on specific aspects of blue carbon, whereas others are broad in scope. Types of blue carbon practical action include:
- Research programs that quantify carbon stocks and fluxes within ecosystems, including quantification of above and belowground biomass and soil organic carbon stocks, changes in carbon stocks and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by management activities, and the extent and change in area of coastal blue carbon ecosystems;
- Policy initiatives that focus on understanding and modifying factors that influence how coastal blue carbon ecosystems are managed and accounted for, such as local community livelihood needs, as well as local, regional, national and international policy development;
- Coordinating programs that bring together governments, researchers, non-governmental organisations and private enterprise to advance blue carbon efforts; and
- On-ground projects that implement activities with the objective of increasing carbon stocks or reducing GHG emissions, some of which generate carbon credits to help fund activities.
Increasing scientific knowledge about coastal blue carbon ecosystems and the effects of different management activities is improving the potential for implementation of blue carbon activities. The most significant impediments to effective on-ground project implementation relate to uncertainty about blue carbon related government policies, limited capacity of implementing organisations and local communities, and constrained financial capacity to develop, implement, maintain, monitor and report on project outcomes.
However, sufficient knowledge and tools exist to initiate on-ground blue carbon projects, provided the best available data is adopted, with flexibility built into project planning and monitoring to integrate new knowledge as this becomes available. A range of tools have been developed to quantify the carbon benefits of blue carbon projects, and new tools under development will further enhance the potential for blue carbon projects to efficiently monitor and report progress.