This year’s first IEF grant will be awarded in support of iSea’s Reposidonia Project in which, having already been supported to map the regions’ posidonia meadows and ascertain their ‘almost pristine’ quality, they will now analyse the sea grass in order to quantify their Blue Carbon potential.
No other study like this has taken place before in the Ionian Sea and it is critical in an era of addressing climate change and meeting COP 26 decarbonising targets because:
- Posidonia Meadows, frequently referred to as ‘The Lungs of The Meditteranean’, are a valuable Carbon Sink – storing CO2 that would otherwise remain in the atmosphere and fuel global warming;
- Coastal wetlands store carbon at a rate that is up to ten times greater than mature tropical forests;
- Quantifiable Blue Carbon Data from this area will serve as a milestone to facilitate conservation advocation and management actions as well as setting a roadmap for all posidonia meadows across the Ionian Sea;
- Quantifying the blue carbon capture potential of these meadows will facilitate conservation policies that can also be used in the carbon credits financing system;
- The significant and growing number of coastal blue carbon projects that are currently being implemented by various countries and organizations around the world is strong evidence of the capacity of blue carbon to motivate conservation.
The main aims of the project are:
- To estimate the blue carbon potential of Posidonia oceanica meadows in Erimitis, NE Corfu;
- To inform government bodies of the blue carbon potential and opportunities for carbon finance as a profitable incentive to designate the region as a conservation area;
- To promote a positive change in institutional policy, practice or law.
If Greece is to show its credentials as actively tackling climate change then it needs to get engaged with quantifying its blue carbon sinks, and to formalise the marine conservation policies required to protect these vital global assets. The Ionian Islands look to be leading the way and we are thrilled to be supporting iSea on this critical journey.
The significant findings of these studies, serve to support the local efforts of the association Erimiti Plous and the campaign Save Erimitis, aiming to celebrate this natural ecosystem and protect it from the threatening “development” plans which fail to recognise the ecological value of the area.
iSea has mapped the Posidonia meadows, has evaluated its conservation status and has estimated the Blue Carbon stock, around the beach of Vromolimni, where the “development” plans foresee the construction of a marina in place of this valuable ecosystem.
The total coverage of the meadow, exclusively in the area where the marina will be situated, was estimated to be 157.000 m2. However, it is important to notice that the Posidonia meadows extend beyond the limits of the study area. Furthermore, the meadow of the area expresses a “Good ecological status” and holds more than 560 tonnes of organic carbon, an amount calculated to be much greater considering that the study area referred to a small part of the meadow.
By recording the biodiversity, the already existing data was enriched in consideration with the marine species of the area. In particular, 82 different marine species were recorded, where in combination with the previous studies they complete the presence of 107 species in total.
It is vital that every development plan for the region, and similar ecosystems, must be based on the preservation of their ecological value, for the benefit of the local communities and on the basis of sustainable development that ensures the last remaining areas of the natural unspoilt world are protected for future generations!