Comprehensive assessment of the seagrass meadows of the Velondriake LMMA and their value for blue carbon projects

Supervisors: Garth Cripps, Olivia Kemp, Kate England
Location: field based in Velondriake, Toliara
Duration: 6 months

While immediate carbon finance opportunities exist for mangrove habitats, the carbon fluxes of tropical seagrasses are less established than those of mangroves. Furthermore seagrasses are fragile habitats where often the drivers of loss are indirect and remote. On the other hand seagrasses support important artisanal fisheries and biodiversity.

Our Blue Forests programme is working to extend mangrove management out to neighbouring seagrass beds, combining the management of both of these blue carbon habitats and allowing the ecological synergies that exist between them to be maintained. The carbon sequestration potential of seagrasses is currently being  established, but some estimates put the carbon sequestration potential of seagrass beds as two times that of undisturbed Amazonian rainforest.

Following preliminary  surveys conducted on 11 sites within the Velondriake locally managed marine area LMMA in 2008, this project aims to conduct comprehensive surveys of a cross section of sites within the LMMA, assessing overall diversity, density and health of seagrass beds through detailed ecological surveys.
Estimates of standing carbon stocks in the  seagrass beds of Velondriake will be attained from density assessments.
The carbon stocks in seagrass beds will then be integrated into an on-going feasibility  assessment for a REDD+ project. This project will generate important information for both BV's marine science and blue forests teams, and will be used to enhance long term, sustainable management of marine resources in the area.