Ecosystem services provided by kelp forests

Kelps mitigate the impacts of climate change by storing carbon. Kelps are also prolific primary producers.

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Kelp forests and beach-cast kelp protect coastlines and coastal communities from the impacts of strong wave and wind action.

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People derive benefits through directly harvesting kelp for use as alginate, abalone feed (in aquaculture farms) and as food, among other applications.

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People also harvest kelp-associated organisms such as molluscs (eg. abalone), crustaceans (eg. rock lobsters) and fish. The culture and occupational identity of these coastal communities may also be closely associated with kelp forests and the goods and services they provide. 

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BLUECONNECT aims to study the impacts of the kelp forest range expansion on ecosystem services provided by these forests. Particular interest lies in the (potential) challenges and opportunities perceived and experienced by relevant stakeholders.