PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Blue Carbon is the carbon stored by coastal marine ecosystems, such as mangrove and marine phanerogam forests, such as Posidonia oceanica meadows. These ecosystems store much more carbon than land-based ecosystems, which is why they are given an important role in climate change mitigation. However, if these ecosystems are degraded or damaged, their storage capacity is lost or seriously compromised, and the stored carbon is then released, resulting in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which contribute negatively to climate change.

Posidonia oceanica meadows. Photo F. Pacenza

In the last decades, since the 50s, the Posidonia oceanica meadows have undergone a considerable regression, in some cases equal to 90% of its original extension.

The causes are mainly due to anthropic factors, including:

  • pollution, which damages the grasslands through chemical substances or the high turbidity of the water;
  • trawling, which is forbidden in Posidonia meadows, is often carried out by causing serious damage, such as the eradication of entire plants and the destruction of the typical terraced formation called "matte" (consisting of interlaced remnants of roots, rhizomes and entangled sediment). Considering that the "matte" has a very slow growth, the damage is very serious;
  • the wild anchoring of boats directly on the Posidonia meadows, which causes serious damage by tearing leaves and rhizomes, but also whole plants.

The SEAFOREST project therefore has the general objective of restoring the habitats of the Posidonia meadows present in some Italian protected areas, through actions to reduce their degradation. In particular, the protected areas identified are the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni (province of Salerno), the National Park of Asinara and the National Park of the La Maddalena archipelago (province of Sassari). These territories have a large extension of posidonieti within their Marine Protected Areas, and part of this territory is threatened by the degradation factors listed above.

La Maddalena Archipelago National Park (SS), Caprera Island: Posidonia meadows seen from above. Foto M. Miozzo

ACTIONS TO REDUCE THE DEGRADATION OF HABITAT

In particular, to reduce the degradation of the Posidonia seagrasses, we will prepare a Plan for the management of anchors and moorings in Protected Areas, in order to regulate the access of the boats to the areas where the Posidonia meadows are present; moreover we will install eco-compatible moorings, more suitable for habitat conservation, to replace the moorings that may already exist, and we will remove the mooring structures no longer functioning, called "dead bodies", which caused the dead of the Posidonia meadows creating a empty inside the prairie.

ACTIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE BEHAVIOR VEGETABLE RESIDUES

We will also deal with the residues of Posidonia, the so-called "blanquettes", which represent a problem along the coasts with a high tourist vocation. In particular we will try to promote a sustainable management of these residues, providing for the production of compost and acoustic panels.

ACTIONS FOR THE INCREASE OF HABITAT

We will use the stranded seeds and sprouts of Posidonia oceanica, in order to make a revegetation of the habitat. Therefore, natural nurseries will be created inside the Protected Areas, where the seedlings will be germinated, in order to make the dead "matte", once the prairie erosion has occurred.

THE CARBON CREDITS MARKET

A very important and innovative aspect of the SEAFOREST project concerns the carbon credits market. In fact, we will create a market deriving from the project, by creating a national IT platform for the purchase and sale of carbon credits generated by the project. Finally we will make sales contracts with companies interested in compensating their emissions by purchasing carbon credits.

EXPORT OF THE PROJECT TO MALTA

We will involve the network of Italian Marine Protected Areas in order to promote projects to transfer the technical results achieved in the SEA FOREST LIFE project. Moreover, thanks to our Maltese partner PARAGON Europe, the "Malta Laboratory" will be established, so the project will be extended to the Maltese territory, where territorial agreements will be established with stakeholders, for the adoption of the SEAFOREST model also within Marine Areas Maltese Protected.