Why Kelp Forests?


Similar to all other blue carbon ecosystems, kelp forests are among the most degraded - but their disappearance is the hardest to see.

Beneath the surface of the ocean lies a hidden forest - but one that looks significantly different than it once did a decade ago. Known as “the sequoias of the sea” for their rich biodiversity and carbon sequestration potential, kelp forests are home to hundreds of marine species - until recently.

As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear

A desolate landscape

Urchin Barrens

These climate-driven catastrophes allowed for the population of native purple sea urchin species to explode after one of its last remaining predators, the sunflower starfish, succumbed to a mass die-off starting in 2013.

And despite playing a role in a healthy kelp forest, sea urchins can proliferate and create "barrens" where kelp cannot grow.

Kelp is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, growing up to 2-3 feet per day in ideal conditions.

Utilizing this power could be a key to mitigating climate change across the world. And the latest science suggests that kelp forests have the potential to sequester even more carbon than mangrove forests. 

Similarly to other blue carbon ecosystems, kelp absorbs carbon dioxide from both the atmosphere and the ocean, stores it, and then exports a large portion of its biomass out into the deep sea, sinking it to the deep ocean permanently - essentially becoming part of the ocean floor.

In fact, each year 10% of kelp primary productivity is permanently sequestered.


Kelp Carbon Science Study

In addition to restoring these powerful underwater ecosystems, we have begun working on scientific research to quantify the carbon sequestration potential of kelp forests, and to develop policy for kelp forest conservation as a blue carbon resource. 

To learn more about this study and how restoring these sequoias of the sea is critical to solving climate change, please go here.

To learn more about our various kelp forest restoration projects,  please visit the following pages on our website: