Seagrass ecosystems are essential for marine health and provide valuable resources for humans. However, globally, seagrass meadows have declined significantly by 29% from 1879 to 2006. In Indonesia, seagrass meadows have declined by an average of 5% per decade.
To address this critical issue, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) of Indonesia and CarbonEthics are collaborating on a seagrass ecosystem restoration research project. The project will focus on four key areas:
Developing practical insights into seagrass restoration techniques that can be applied in various coastal environments.
Assessing the adaptability of restoration methods and the effectiveness of biodegradable materials.
Developing a customized restoration strategy for Berakit Island and Dompak Island, which will serve as a model for coastal restoration projects in Indonesia and globally.
Improving the resilience and health of seagrass ecosystems, supporting biodiversity, fisheries, and coastal protection
The project will be conducted at selected locations in Bintan Island and Berakit Island, Riau Islands. These locations were chosen based on their potential as suitable natural habitats for seagrass ecosystems and the availability of resources.
The project is expected to provide a number of benefits, including:
Carbon storage: Seagrass is a powerful plant that captures and stores carbon dioxide (CO2) during photosynthesis, even more effectively than forests on land. Carbon stored by seagrass is stored in their roots and surrounding sediment for long periods of time, making it an important long-term carbon storage solution.
Blue carbon: Seagrass meadows are a critical component of the "blue carbon" ecosystem. The sequestration of carbon in seagrass tissues can affect local pH and increase coral reef calcification, thereby reducing the effects of ocean acidification.
Biodiversity benefits: Seagrass ecosystems function as an important habitat for marine life, increasing biodiversity and enhancing ecosystem resilience to environmental challenges. Dugongs, dolphins, and crustaceans are just a few of the many marine creatures that benefit from healthy seagrass meadows.
Community Welfare: Seagrass also captures fine sediment and floating particles in the water column, which improves water clarity and quality. Through its ability to stabilize and maintain sediment on the seafloor, seagrass can also reduce the indirect effects of coastal erosion, storms, and floods, which are beneficial for coastal communities. Seagrass also reduces pathogenic bacteria that are harmful to humans by 50 percent.
The collaboration between KKP and CarbonEthics is a significant step forward in the effort to restore seagrass ecosystems in Indonesia. The project has the potential to provide a number of benefits for marine health, biodiversity, and coastal communities.
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Edward, J. K. P., K. D. Raj, G. Mathews, P. D. Kumar, A. Arasamuthu, N. D’ Souza and D. S. Bilgi. 2019. Seagrass Restoration in Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu, Southeast India: a Viable Management Tool. Environment Monitoring Assessment. 191 (430) : 1 - 14.