Scientists estimate sea kelp generates $500 bn a year (PHSY.ORG)
The study published in Nature Communications offered a rare gauge of the contribution from the tall seaweed, which is threatened by climate change, valuing it at three times the amount previously thought.
The international team of scientists quantified the contribution of six kinds of kelp to fisheries production through the species they support.
They also calculated the benefits from kelp’s role in nitrogen and CO2 removal.
“Globally, these kelp forests produce an estimated average $500 billion per year,” they concluded, making them “over three times more valuable than previously acknowledged”.
They found the kelp—whose support of numerous lifeforms was noted by Charles Darwin—sequester 4.91 million metric tons of CO2, thus removing planet-warming gas from the atmosphere.
Kelp are threatened by human-caused climate change, which warms the oceans. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has documented damage to them from marine heatwaves in recent years.