Global estimates of the extent and production of macroalgal forests

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MAY 2022
Macroalgal habitats are believed to be the most extensive and productive of all coastal vegetated ecosystems. In stark contrast to the growing attention on their contribution to carbon export and sequestration, understanding of their global ex- tent and production is limited and these have remained poorly assessed for decades. This article is a first data-driven assessment of the global extent and production of macroalgal habitats based on modelled and observed distributions and net primary production (NPP) across habitat types.

The article shows that macroalgal forests are a major biome with a global area of 6.06–7.22 million km2, dominated by red algae, and NPP of 1.32 Pg C/year, dominated by brown algae.