Data on Seychelles' seagrass, a vital carbon sink, is shared at climate conference
Seagrass is one of three blue carbon ecosystems and n Seychelles. (Mathew Morgan)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Initial data gathered from a mapping study on Seychelles' seagrass meadows was presented at the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, said the lead consultant.
Jeanne Mortimer, the lead consultant told SNA that the information will also be used when Seychelles discusses issues surrounding its carbon footprint with other countries.
Seagrass is one of three blue carbon ecosystems and n Seychelles, alongside mangroves and saltmarshes. With the ability to capture carbon dioxide up to 50 percent faster than the earth's green carbon ecosystems such as trees, it is one of the earth's most efficient carbon sinks and is a much-needed weapon against climate change.
"What you need is a way to pull the carbon out of the air. Seagrass does that because they are plants and they pull in carbon dioxide and they give out oxygen, they are always taking in carbon dioxide so that means they are lowering the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said Mortimer.
The Seychelles' seagrass and carbon mapping project costs around $1 million and is spearheaded by the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).
The project has three main phases: mapping seagrass using satellite imagery; data field collections on seagrass meadows; and data analysis on seagrass extend and carbon stock.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.4 million square kilometres but has very limited data on its seagrass meadows.
Mortimer pointed out that "we have general ideas of where it is easy to find seagrass, but there is still so much to learn, and some of it we will only be able to tell when we are on the seabed."
She said this is why this study was important as "you can't have a healthy marine environment without having a healthy seagrass environment, but people tend to take that for granted, going oh yeah it's just seagrass!"
Seychelles has also embarked on an ambitious journey to protect 100 percent of its seagrass habitats by 2030.