Video: Foyle and Swilly salt marshes store carbon 40 times faster than tropical rainforest - Mick Wallace

A salt marsh that is regularly drained by the tide at Fahan on Lough Swilly.
A salt marsh that is regularly drained by the tide at Fahan on Lough Swilly.

The salt marshes of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly can store carbon 40 times faster than tropical rainforests.

That’s according to Independent T.D. Mick Wallace who said more needs to be done to protect the ecosystems that are an increasingly vital weapon against climate change.

“We have to accept that salt marshes are very impressive at sequestering and storing carbon. Some studies have estimated that, per hectare, a salt marsh can sequester carbon at 40 times the speed of a tropical rainforest,” he said.

Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht Minister, Josepha Madigan, said: “Salt marshes are widely distributed across Ireland, and are concentrated in the larger estuaries such as Bantry Bay as well as Dundalk Bay, the Shannon Estuary, inner Galway Bay and as far north as Inishowen.”

Several salt marshes dot the Foyle and Swilly systems, notably at Muff, Fahan and the Roe estuary. There are also examples at Trawbreaga Bay and Grangemore near Castlerock.