A Blue Economy embraces economic, social and environmental benefits. These triple pillars are reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals, which is probably now the primary instrument that frames the international policy context. Reflecting this international policy context, the Blue Economy encompasses activities that explore, develop and use the ocean’s resources, that use the ocean’s space and that protect the ocean’s ecosystems.
Efforts towards restoring and protecting ‘blue carbon’ habitats (those dominated by seagrasses, mangroves and tidal marshes, which are highly productive and support remarkably high carbon burial rates) offer economic, social and environmental payoffs for coastal communities — the same triple pillars that support the Blue Economy. The payoff includes increased in carbon sequestration (and the wide benefits that offers), but also the opportunity to change from perverse practices that degrade ecosystems, and ultimately the societies that depend on them. Activities that restore and protect Blue Carbon also offer the potential for developing market-based mechanisms that take advantage of existing frameworks for carbon offsets. These habitats are being lost at rates that rank them among the most threatened habitats on Earth, and rates of loss in the Indian Ocean rank among the highest.
The Indian Ocean contains a particularly large proportion of Earth’s blue carbon habitats, but is losing them faster than anywhere else. These twin observations imply that the Indian Ocean nations are in a unique position to lead the world in blue carbon science and policy. Therefore, the objective of this special issue on ‘Indian Ocean Blue Carbon’ is to synthesise our knowledge of the current state of science and policy in the Indian Ocean, and look ahead to the key actions that Indian Ocean nations can lead. Contributions are invited and welcomed on the following, but not exclusive, themes:
- Reviews and syntheses of blue carbon science in Indian Ocean nations
- Reviews of current policy, legal and other frameworks
- Investigations of the role of blue carbon in the broader blue economy
- Assessments of current market and finance mechanisms, and their relevance to blue carbon
- Lessons learned by applications of any of the above subjects to demonstration projects
- Assessments of how the blue economy and especially blue carbon impact on the livelihoods and well-being of rural coastal communities;
- Exploring the role of community participation in blue carbon initiatives and how trade-offs happen;
- The role of women in the blue economy and by extension blue carbon initiatives in ecosystem preservation and protection
Submissions and abstracts are welcome now on any of the specified themes, but authors are also welcome to contact us with other ideas. All papers are double peer-reviewed.
Instructions for Authors
Full paper: 19 August 2018
Publication in hard copy: March 2019
- Guest editor: Narnia Bohler-Muller, Human Sciences Research Council/ University of Fort Hare
- Guest editor: Andy Steven, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO-Australia)
- Guest editor: Mat Vanderklift, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO-Australia)