What Kelp Forests Mean for Our Planet: Uses and Importance of This Undervalued Resource


Kelp forests are one of the most important and least-known ecosystems on our planet. They play a vital role in maintaining the health of our oceans and our planet as a whole. Further, they also provide food and shelter for fish, marine mammals, and other forms of sea life. They also act as a carbon sink, helping to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In this article, we will explore the uses and importance of kelp forests.

Kelp is a type of seaweed that grows in underwater forests called kelp forests. These forests are found in temperate and polar regions all around the world. This organism is a vital part of our ocean ecosystems, providing food and shelter for fish, marine mammals, and other forms of sea life. It also helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Kelp Forests - Eucheuma farming - Philippines
Eucheuma farming, Philippines (Image: Derek Keats / Wikimedia)

Kelp forests are an important part of our planet’s carbon cycle. They act as a carbon sink, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the kelp’s tissues. This helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

Kelp is also a valuable source of food for humans. It contains many nutrients, such as calcium, iodine, and iron. It can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used to make powder for use in smoothies or soups. Further, it is also used for its medicinal properties. It contains kelp polysaccharides, which are used in cancer research and treating diabetes.

Where does kelp come from?

Kelp is a type of brown algae that grows in clusters, also called forests, underwater along the coasts. Kelp forests are one of the most productive and diverse ecosystems on Earth. They provide habitat for many marine species and support food chains both on land and underwater. This ecosystem depends on this organism to anchor themselves to rocks or other seaweeds, which they use as shelter from waves. They form dense thickets of vegetation where sea life can flourish as it grows. This includes crabs, shrimp, fish, snails, and more.

Kelp Forests - Seaweed Farms in South Korea
The dark squares that make up the checkerboard pattern in this image are fields of a sort—fields of seaweed. Along the south coast of South Korea, seaweed is often grown on ropes, which are held near the surface with buoys. This technique ensures that the seaweed stays close enough to the surface to get enough light during high tide but doesn’t scrape against the bottom during low tide. (Image: NASA Earth Observatory / Wikimedia)

During springtime, when there is an abundance of nutrients in the water, kelps will begin growing at rapid rates to take advantage before summer brings nutrient scarcity again – this is called kelp’s “spring flush.” It expands through a process called kelping which involves releasing spores into the water column and attaching them onto rocks or other kelp so that they can grow vertically up towards sunlight using carbon dioxide and photosynthesis just like trees do on land.

How is kelp grown and harvested?

Kelp is a type of seaweed that grows in underwater kelp forests. Kelps are an important resource for the marine environment and human beings. They provide food, medicine, fertilizer, and many other products for people who live in coastal areas or in countries with large bodies of water. These kelp forests have been traditionally harvested by hand from sea beds, but recently kelp farms have been established to harvest kelps more efficiently through farming techniques- which is done by harvesting kelps at a certain time so they can be replanted later when they grow back up again.

Kelp Forests - Seaweed farming - Nusa Lembongan Bali
Edible seaweed farming on the small island of Nusa Lembongan, southeast of Bali, in Indonesia. The seaweed is growing on a rope. The bay on the coast is marked out by wooden posts into rectangular plots that are owned by different families. A boat is seen in some of the plots. (Image: Jean-Marie Hullot / Wikimedia)

One advantage of kelp farms is that not only do they produce kelps faster than traditional methods, but they also protect the natural environment because there’s no need to cut down kelp forests in order to harvest the goods. Another advantage of seaweed farms is they provide jobs for people living near coastal areas as well as those who live inland, which helps improve the economy in these regions too because there will be more money circulating within communities and lower unemployment rates due to kelp farming activities happening in coastal areas.

Seawead Dish - Sapporo Ichiban Catford London
Pickled spicy seaweed dish in a Japanese restaurant (Image: Ewan Munro / Wikimedia)

So kelp forests are not only crucial for the marine environment, but they also provide many benefits for human beings too, which is why kelp should be considered an important resource that we should take care of.

In conclusion

Kelp forests are some of the most important ecosystems on our planet. They provide a wealth of services that are essential to human well-being and the health of our planet. To summarize:

  • Kelp is a type of seaweed.
  • It produces oxygen, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Kelp helps protect coastlines from erosion.
  • It provides a habitat for fish and other marine life.
  • Seaweed contains nutrients that help fertilize coastal waters.
  • There are kelp forests that grow off the coast of California and other parts of the world.
  • In kelp farming, kelp is grown in underwater farms to be used as food for humans and animals alike.
  • Seaweed has many uses, including as a food source, fertilizer, and a source of biofuel.
  • Kelp farming can help to improve the health of our oceans and protect against climate change.
  • Kelp forests are beautiful and important parts of our planet’s ecosystem.

And best of all is that actually, you can prepare kelp in a way that makes them quite delicious. Of course, it requires a bit of experimenting, but why not? I hope you found this article useful.

YouTube: Why Demand For Seaweed Is About To Boom (CNBC)

YouTube: Can seaweed help curb global warming? | Tim Flannery (TED)

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Vision Dive. The images in the body of the article (1, 2, 3, 4) can be found in the Wikimedia Commons.

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isakhttps://techacute.com
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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