The World Economic Forum identifies the loss of biodiversity as one of the five biggest threats to the global economy.
Blue forests such as kelp forests, seagrass meadows, salt marshes and mangrove forests are amongst the most biodiversity rich ecosystems in the world. Thousands of species depend on blue forests for spawning, nursery, habitat, protection and food.
Across the globe, blue forests are declining at an alarming scale and pace. Protection and restoration of these ecosystems can reverse this decline while simultaneously contributing to the reduction of the wider biodiversity decline. However, these ecosystems often receive less focus than terrestrial forests or coral reefs. When blue forests are recognised, the emphasis is primarily on mangroves, to a lesser extent seagrass and rarely kelp forests or saltmarshes.
Blue forests need to be increasingly prioritised in relevant policies to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, coastal ecosystems should be highlighted in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that was negotiated in Kunming, China in October – as they were in the outgoing Aichi targets for biodiversity.