Conservation of biodiversity, seagrass ecosystems and their services – safeguarding food security and resilience in vulnerable coastal communities in a changing climate
As of: November 2020
Seagrass is an essential food source for dugongs and other marine wildlife and provides key ecosystem services (e.g. fisheries productivity and carbon sequestration). Seagrass ecosystems are declining globally due to pressure from coastal development, fishing and boating, pollution and climate change. Information on the status of seagrass ecosystems and the services that they provide is lacking. The project contributes to reducing these knowledge gaps by engaging local NGOs and communities in the conservation of seagrass. NGOs are trained in participatory science to enable them to collect data and identify key seagrass areas. This information is then used to engage communities and decision makers in developing policies for seagrass conservation. In parallel, the project implements alternative business models in coastal communities to improve livelihoods and contribute funds for seagrass conservation. This enhances the sustainability of seagrass ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific.
State of implementation/results
- The project kick-off meeting was held in Manado, Indonesia in the final week of January 2020, with the participation of representatives from all Implementing, Technical and National Partners.
- The Indonesia National Planning Meeting was held in Bahoi, Indonesia, in February 2020 and resulted in the production of the Indonesia National Plan. National plans for the other four countries were developed remotely due to travel restrictions.
- The project employs research methods (e.g. Seagrass-Watch and the Standardized Dugong Catch/Bycatch Questionnaire) that can be implemented by local communities in the five sites, and capacity building activities are ongoing.
- Four National Partners have completed their Dugong Catch/Bycatch Questionnaire Training remotely, and data collection has started in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.
- The project team started the development of business models integrating seagrass ecosystem services, including homestays, spirulina aquaculture, and a blue carbon credit scheme, which can provide an additional source of revenue to sustain conservation actions taken by local communities. The implementation of business models has started in Indonesia, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
- The National Partners are actively engaging with local communities and political partners in all five countries, building relationships, raising awareness of the project, and starting to discuss seagrass conservation and policy.
- A project website is being developed and is expected to go live in October 2020.