The Blue Carbon Initiative Scientific Working Group met in Copenhagen, Denmark, from September 9-13, 2019. The focus of this meeting was on Blue Carbon habitats in the Nordic countries. One of the central questions of the workshop was: “How can Blue Carbon contribute to achieve the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the goals of the Paris Agreement?

Blue Carbon (BC) is known as the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. Seagrass, mangrove and saltmarshes are acknowledged as BC ecosystems as they sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon in the sediments where they live. Now, kelp and other seaweeds are slowly being accepted as BC habitats, after being ignored since they grow on habitats that don’t accumulate organic carbon, and thereby overlooking their export to other ecosystems.

In total, near 80 researchers, environmental managers, and policymakers participated in the workshop – many contributing with their knowledge on restoration, protection and management of different Blue Carbon systems around the world. Norway was represented by five participants from The Norwegian Blue Forest Network (NBFN, Helene Frigstad, Kasper Hancke, Hege Gundersen from NIVA, Jonas Thormar from IMR, and Steven Lutz from Grid-Arendal) and two representatives from the Norwegian Environment Agency (Åsa A. B. Pedersen and Marianne Olsen).

The workshop finished with a roundtable discussion in which all participants were asked: “Why do You think it’s important to focus on Blue Carbon?” or “What do You think can be done for the Nordic Blue Carbon habitats?”, and How will You proceed the work for Blue Carbon when you get home?”

With these Why’s, What’s and How’s still in mind we have started to synthesise two papers. The first are entitled “The status of Blue Carbon Ecosystems in the Nordic countries” which will give a status of the science, management and policy related to blue carbon ecosystems in the Nordic countries, as well as knowledge gaps and future perspectives. The second is entitled “Nordic Roadmap for Blue Carbon ecosystems”. We expect that these papers will be ready in early 2020.