Towards incorporation of blue carbon in Falkland Islands marine spatial planning: a multi-tiered approach

Narissa Bax* (Corresponding Author), Santiago E. Pineda Metz, Tabitha Pearman, Markus Diesing, Stefanie Carter, Rachel V. Downey, Chris D. Evans, David K. Barnes, Paul Brickle, Alastair M. Baylis, Alyssa Adler, Amy Guest, Kara Layton, Paul E. Brewin, Daniel Bayley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Ecosystem-based conservation that includes carbon sinks, alongside a linked carbon credit system, as part of a nature-based solution to combating climate change, could help reduce greenhouse gas levels and therefore the impact of their emissions. Blue carbon habitats and pathways can also facilitate biodiversity retention, aiding sustainable fisheries and island economies. However, robust blue carbon research is often limited at the scale of regional governance and management, lacking both incentives and facilitation of policy-integration.
The remote and highly biodiverse Falkland Islands coastal ecosystems and surrounding continental shelf can be used to better inform long-term ecosystem-based management in the vast South Atlantic Ocean and sub-Antarctic, to synergistically protect both unique biodiversity and inform on the magnitude of nature-based benefits they provide. Understanding key ecosystem information such as their location, extent, and condition of habitat types, will be critical in understanding carbon pathways to sequestration, threats to this, and vulnerability. This paper considers the current status of blue carbon data and information available, and what is still required before blue carbon can be used as a conservation management tool integrated in national Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiatives. Our research indicates that in the Falkland Islands, data and information gathered has enabled baselines for a number of different blue carbon ecosystems, and indicated potential threats and vulnerability that need to be managed. However, significant knowledge gaps remain across habitats, such as salt marsh, mudflats and the mesophotic zones, which hinders meaningful progress on the ground where it is needed most.
Original languageEnglish
Article number872727
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Early online date10 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

We gratefully acknowledge our collaborators and colleagues, the organisations and individuals who contributed their time and expertise to marine spatial planning in the Falkland Islands, Alex Blake and Jorge Ramos at Falkland Island Fisheries for spatial estimates of fisheries in FCZs, Jack Ingledew for providing GIS and metadata assistance, and Chester Sands for providing input on an earlier draft of the manuscript. This paper is dedicated to the Falklands’ future generations and the important marine biodiversity they will inherit.

Data Availability Statement

The datasets presented in this study can be found in online repositories. The names of the repository/repositories and accession number(s) can be found in the article/Supplementary Material.
The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at:


  • blue carbon ecosystem
  • kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera)
  • Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)
  • Marine protected area
  • Marine managed areas
  • Vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME)
  • Mesophotic
  • Falkland archipelago
  • Subantarctic and temperate zone


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