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Collaboration strengthens capacity for blue carbon management and inventory in Costa Rica

Coastal wetlands like mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses play a significant role in carbon storage and sequestration around the world, providing some of the highest density stores of carbon in the biosphere. This long-term storage is known as coastal blue carbon. To date, only a few countries have incorporated blue carbon into their national greenhouse gas inventories, which help track progress towards meeting international climate commitments. The Blue Carbon Inventory Project (BCI), led by NOAA with funding from DOS, works with partner countries to advance the development of greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, coastal resource management, and resilience strategies that reflect the societal and climate mitigation value of mangrove ecosystems. The BCI leverages ongoing programs within NOAA, new and ongoing work by EPA, USDA-FS, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and USAID. The BCI is part of the Transparency Accelerator for Greenhouse Gas Inventories, a capacity-building initiative established by EPA and DOS to help developing countries develop sustainable greenhouse gas inventory management systems that enable transparent, accurate, complete, comparable, and consistent inventories. 

In 2022, the BCI held a series of virtual and in-person workshops with Costa Rica to identify blue carbon inventory and management priorities and develop and provide in-person training to build capacity for blue carbon management and national greenhouse gas inventories. Ultimately, these efforts help ensure that the capacity and expertise exist to effectively manage blue carbon ecosystems, while quantifying the ecosystem services they provide for inclusion in national greenhouse gas inventories, carbon markets, and pay-for-service programs. Building on the successful Costa Rica model, the BCI is currently expanding efforts to additional partner countries in the Pacific, Africa, and Asia. In 2022, NOAA worked in close partnership with the EPA, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and numerous non-governmental organizations to implement this work.