You may have visited so many forests and know about the world’s largest forests like Amazon but did you know there are more giant underwater forests than we have ever imagined? There are so many research studies going on oceans where scientists have found the larger size of ocean forests are the coastal area of the sea.
Here we are going to talk about the facts that scientists have found during their studies about the underwater forests which are undiscovered millions of years ago
Table of Contents
- What are underwater forests?
- Let’s know how big these forests are.
- Can ocean forests solve our future food crisis?
- Are ocean forests safe to grow?
What are underwater forests?
Ocean forests are formed by a type of algae called seaweed. It also grows by capturing the sun’s energy and carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. The largest species grow 10 meters tall forming canopies that sway in a never-ending dance as swells move through.
They are forests in a real sense providing habitat, food, and shelter to a wide variety of marine life. the species like sea bamboo and giant kelp have gas-filled structures which act like little balloons and help them create vast floating canopies. Other species have strong stems to stay upright and support their photosynthesis blades like golden kelp on Australia’s Great Southern Reef, which drape over the seafloor.
Let’s know how big these forests are.
Seaweeds are among the fastest-growing plants on earth. According to recent studies, scientists haven’t yet concluded the area covered by their forests. It’s very challenging being under the ocean to determine the size of the forests. On land, the forests can be measured easily with the help of satellites as satellites cannot measure underwater forests at the depth of the ocean.
As a solution to the challenges that occurred to measure the size of the underwater forests scientists took a thorough study of the millions of underwater records from scientific literature, online repositories, local herbaria, and more from citizen science initiatives. They modeled the distribution of ocean forests and estimated that they cover 7.2 million square kilometers and that’s way larger than Amazon.
If we talk about the productivity of these underwater forests and how much they grow scientists had to go through hundreds of individual experimental studies from across the globe where seaweed growth rates had been measured by scuba divers. it was found that ocean forests are even more productive than intensely farmed crops like wheat, rice, and corn.
Productivity is highest in temperate regions. Which are usually bathed in cool, nutrient-rich water. Every year, on average, ocean forests in these regions produce 2 to 11 times more biomass per area than the crops grown on land.
Can ocean forests solve our future food crisis?
The challenging studies and frameworks done are to check the future possibilities that underwater forests could help meet the world’s future food security. As we discussed earlier that seaweed grows faster, and seaweed farms can help to supplement food production on land.
There are so many positive aspects of these underwater forests. their fast growth indicates that they need a huge amount of carbon dioxide to grow. The carbon dioxide that they consume is taken from ocean water and from the atmosphere which is a very positive sign in balancing global warming. The emission of carbon dioxide is resulting in global warming and these ocean forests are playing a greater role to revive the atmosphere.
Are ocean forests safe to grow?
We all know the forests on land are having a hard time growing due to deforestation, huge forest fires, and many more. In the same way, underwater forests also suffer hard times because of the extra heat trapped by the 2,400 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases we have emitted have gone into our oceans. This overheating has created a hard time for ocean forests.
Large expanses of ocean forests have recently disappeared off Western Australia, eastern Canada, and California, resulting in the loss of habitat and carbon sequestration potential.
Also, read about the Total discovered oceans on earth