Why Kelp?

As climate change exacerbates challenges in nearly all facets of life, we are looking toward existing solutions in nature that can help the planet restore itself. Kelp is a giver of solutions – it produces oxygen and food, provides shelter to marine life, sequesters carbon and doesn’t ask for anything in return. To learn more about how kelp plays a critical role in relieving effects of climate change, supporting biodiversity, stimulating the economy, providing recreational and cultural sites and more, read below.

Meet Kelp

Kelp is a type of brown seaweed categorised as a macroalgae. Tethered to the craggy seafloor with a root-like anchor called a holdfast, this marine marvel creates an underwater wonderland. 

The 30 different species of kelp can be found along one third of the world’s coastlines and are known for their especially high density of different marine species and extreme versatility in benefiting both people and the planet. 

All kelp needs to grow is nutrient-rich saltwater, carbon, sunlight and a hard surface to attach to. It grows incredibly fast – sometimes up to 50 cm a day –  without needing fresh water, arable land, or harmful pesticides. This makes kelp one of the most productive ecosystems in the world with the least damaging environmental impact.  

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global objectives aimed to address pressing social, economic and environmental challenges by 2030. They serve as a blueprint for achieving a more sustainable and equitable world for present and future generations. Kelp and its many benefits support nearly all UN SDGs. We’ve highlighted a few that are related to our work at the Kelp Forest Foundation: 

Investing in kelp forests, both wild and cultivated, creates stable sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities that are already intrinsically tied to the well-being of the ecosystem. Kelp forests present countless opportunities for workers to grow in dependable jobs that nourish their local environment from sea to soil.

Kelp goes with the flow – it doesn’t take much to keep it happy. Low maintenance and highly regenerative, kelp forests provide an opportunity to recreate consumerism responsibly. 

Harvesting only the top 10% of the kelp forest canopy to produce products that replenish the planet allows the ecosystem below to thrive while creating new innovations that contribute to a healthy planet. 

Kelp naturally fights against climate change through its ability to clean both air and water. Kelp is a carbon sink –  removing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away at the bottom of the ocean for a good long while. It also helps to reduce ocean acidification and pollution, regulating ocean waters by absorbing excess nutrients and carbon into its slimy sea skin. 

Increase in localised marine biodiversity & ecosystem resilience; Reduction in ocean acidity & major boost to regional, economically important fish stocks.

How does kelp help the planet?

Whether it is providing shelter for hundreds of marine species or improving water quality, kelp is the ultimate ocean helper. The benefits kelp provides to the land and humans are called ecosystem services or a positive impact that is provided by nature. 

To dive into all the ways kelp is making a big splash in helping our planet, scroll down:


Kelp products are a sustainable alternative for plastics, synthetic fertiliser, medicine, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and potentially textiles, and building materials.

Food Security

Many coastal communities are reliant on kelp forests as a food source, both found in the wealth of sea life it harbours and in the nutrient rich sea vegetable itself. Kelp has great potential to feed the world in a changing climate because it does not require arable land, fresh water or pesticides and it is dense in nutritional value.


Coastlines are some of the most populated places in the world. With nearly 750 million people living within a 50km radius of a kelp forest, this vital ecosystem is a hub for creating sustainable livelihoods in coastal communities.

Kelp creates jobs within kelp cultivation, ocean engineering, conservation, marine biology, fishing, education and more.


Seaweeds have been culturally significant to many indigenous coastal peoples around the world for millennia. Kelps played a key role in traditional storytelling, ceremonies and spirituality. They were also used in daily life in medicine, hunting, toys, household conveniences, and navigation.


Applying kelp bio-stimulant can improve soil health, plant performance, and can reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer required.


Kelp absorbs the surplus nutrients in the water, reducing the risk of toxic algal blooms and dead zones.

Shelter & Breeding grounds

If you are a sea creature looking to rest in the wide open ocean, look no further than a kelp bed. With their sweeping canopy forever undulating in everchanging motion, the understory of a kelp bed creates the perfect refuge for animals seeking shelter. 

Secluded from predators, their towering vegetated habitat also serves as an idyllic breeding ground for several species.


As storms become more and more destructive with climate change, kelp forest’s dense canopy serves as a natural barrier against swells’ powerful force, reducing coastal erosion, property destruction and flooding.


Did you know our oceans are becoming more acidic? The ocean absorbs about 30 

percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere – leaving behind waters with an unbalanced chemistry and dangerously low PH levels.


When kelp dies, some of the matter, called detritus, floats away and sinks to the bottom of the deep ocean, where it is locked away for long periods of time.


The kelp forest is unique because of its high levels of biodiversity. Because it is so good at providing shelter and food for inhabitants, a wide range of different types of animals live in this marine sanctuary. Kelp forests are known to host up to 1,000 species from tiny sea snails to mischievous sea otters. 

Are you excited about giant kelp forests?

Share this information to help us restore the health of our planet. Your support has an important impact on establishing kelp as a valued nature-based solution against climate change and biodiversity loss, whilst supporting coastal communities to help make kelp thrive again. 


Giant kelp offers a scalable solution to improve our planet’s health

By cultivating giant kelp and using it for planet-friendly products, we can solve a multitude of ecological challenges we are facing globally.

The planetary boundaries presented by the Stockholm Resilience Centre are nine boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. Crossing these boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Currently, some planetary boundaries, for example land-system change, climate change, or biogeochemical flows, have been exceeded significantly. This means we need to act now to prevent further damage from happening.

Supporting and cultivating giant kelp forests and creating kelp products can help humanity stay within these boundaries and build towards a livable planet.

How kelp can help:

Kelp forests and kelp products can help us mitigate our actions that have caused damage within the planetary boundaries.

Our Focus Areas

Given all the benefits that kelp forests can deliver, Kelp Forest Foundation’s work aims to remove the barriers to adopt kelp as a nature-based solution. We do this through research, ocean education and capacity building, and reforestation of degraded kelp forests.


Understanding and valuing kelp forests’ ecological benefits

Ocean Education

Enabling knowledge transfer and capacity building through educational programmes